National Grid today announced that it has assembled a team of the best and brightest technology and business solutions companies from across the U.S. to help test and deliver the energy system of the future for more than 15,000 customers in Worcester, Mass.
National Grid’s smart grid pilot, which was developed in partnership with customers, the city of Worcester and other key parties, is designed to provide participating customers a new level of choice and control over their energy use through advanced technology, with the goals of empowering customers to save energy, increasing electric service reliability and improving response to power outages.
The team of vendors selected by the company to help create the future includes a full spectrum of expertise that covers every aspect of the project to construct and deliver an end-to-end smart grid pilot including smart meters, advanced communications technologies, in-home energy management tools, devices for electric system automation, as well as customer outreach and education, project management, integration and evaluation.
“This assembly of organizations is our smart grid ‘dream team’,” said Cheri Warren, vice president, Asset Management for National Grid. “They are the best and brightest in their respective disciplines and share our vision for delivering exceptional benefits for customers. We are excited to have them on board as we make progress toward full deployment of the pilot.”
As part of the pilot, National Grid will continue to focus on proactive customer and community engagement that allows for customer interaction and education - a key difference that sets this pilot apart from other smart grid programs across the country. Participating customers will be able choose their level of involvement and, according to what options they select, can receive information about their energy use from various sources such as on-line applications, including cell phone and smart phone apps. New dynamic pricing options will be available to help participating customers save energy and money at different times of day. Additionally, some participating customers will be able to remotely and automatically control some of their home appliances and take advantage of demand response programs which will help increase their opportunity for savings.
The pilot calls for installation of advanced metering systems that provide the very latest in technology and security. Installation of the latest technology on the electric system to improve reliability and system responsiveness also is part of the pilot. This includes testing automated system reconfiguration and remote power outage sensors that enable crews to be dispatched directly to the source of the problem and restore power more quickly. These systems may better support the storm restoration process, thereby improving restoration times. The company also will be studying full integration of renewable resources, installing electric vehicle charging stations and connecting energy storage to existing renewable projects.
National Grid’s pilot was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in August 2012. Since then, the company has been communicating with customers about the program and recently completed early installation of approximately 5,000 advanced meters to help test system communications and allow for equipment adjustments before full pilot launch, which is planned for early in 2014.