National Grid assembles smart grid pilot team

National Grid has assembled a team of 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 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.

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 about 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.

The following is a list of companies and services being provided for National Grid’s smart grid pilot:

BRIDGE Energy Group and Ernst & Young — project management and integration services

Itron — advanced metering infrastructure and meter data management, Home Area Networking and advanced communication technology

Cisco — advanced communication technology and network management

General Electric — high speed network using Wimax communication technology for communication among devices on the electricity distribution system

Verizon Enterprise Solutions — advanced IP and wireless communications services

IBM — will be implementing legacy system integration

Wipro — web development services

CEIVA Energy; EcoFactor Simple Energy and Itron — in-home technology solutions

GridMaven — end-to-end communications network monitoring and management solutions

Navigant — evaluation services to monitor and measure the success of the pilot

SmartMark Communications — customer educational communications to enhance customer participation

S&C Electric Co.; G&W Electric Co.; Beckwith Electric Co Inc. — advanced distribution automation for the electricity distribution system

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories; Lindsey Manufacturing Co.; and Power Delivery Products, — advanced capacitor control and monitoring for the electric system

National Grid either has a contractual agreement in place or is working toward contractual agreements with the companies listed above.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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