Five years after receiving one of only six $200 million Smart Grid Investment Grants awarded by the United States Department of Energy (DOE), CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) continues to deliver valuable benefits to consumers and the environment through the company's Advanced Metering System (AMS) and Intelligent Grid (IG) (see infographic below). Since beginning installation of the AMS in 2009 and construction of the IG in 2010, CenterPoint Energy has achieved several notable milestones including:
- Executing 10,898,256 electronic service orders (e.g. turn on/off service), resulting in:
- Vehicle fuel savings of 1,023,774 gallons
- Avoidance of 9,098 metric tons of CO2 emissions,
- Restoring power to 1,120,754 customers without a phone call, and
- Avoiding 101,330,000 customer outage minutes.
"CenterPoint Energy is making strategic investments in technologies that allow us to operate more efficiently, provide better service to customers, and improve air quality in our community," said Kenny Mercado, senior vice president of Electric Operations for CenterPoint Energy. "These technologies automate many operations, giving us faster, more accurate information on outage types and locations to more quickly dispatch the right crew with the right equipment to restore power and ultimately reduce outage durations and improve electric reliability."
The ability of the Advanced Metering System to execute 98.7 percent of routine electric service orders remotely without having to send a crew means faster and cheaper (through the elimination of fees) service as well as fewer trucks on the road emitting carbon dioxide. Avoiding more than 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions from powering 750 average homes with electricity from coal-fired power plants for one year, improves air quality in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city.
All 2.3 million advanced meters installed throughout CenterPoint Energy's greater Houston service area can send the company automated Power-Off Notifications (PONs) and Power-Restored Notifications, which in many cases has helped CenterPoint Energy restore power without relying on a single customer to report the outage. When power does go out, more than 400,000 customers enrolled in the company's new Power Alert Service receive automated alerts by text, email and/or phone call with the cause of the outage, an estimated restoration time, and confirmation when power has been restored.
Construction of CenterPoint Energy's Intelligent Grid, which now covers about 14 percent of the company's electric service area, will continue for years to come. Through the IG's sensors and automated switches, the company can more quickly identify and isolate power outage locations, which, since 2011, has helped customers avoid more than 100 million outage minutes. In 2014, when using the Intelligent Grid, CenterPoint Energy improved power reliability by more than 28 percent.