New Web-centric PQ monitoring system revealed

Middleton, Wisc.

Based on the successes and excitement resulting from three pilot programs that involved over 30 utilities, numerous Fortune 100 companies, and the Department of Energy, the I-Grid(tm) web-based power monitoring system was commercially released at DistribuTECH 2003 in Las Vegas last month.

The I-Grid ( is a web-based, real-time distributed power quality and reliability (PQ&R) monitoring and notification system that uses ultra low-cost I-Sense(tm) monitors. The ability to offer an ultra-low cost monitor without sacrificing significant capability has been the source of much of the excitement generated by the pilot programs, according to SoftSwitching Technologies, the company introducing I-Grid.

“The key business model innovation was to move most of the ‘intelligence’ that is typically built into power quality monitors off the monitor and onto a central server and web site. Reducing the monitors’ primary function to data capture and transmission enabled a very low cost design,” explained Dr. Deepak Divan, CEO of SoftSwitching Technologies and inventor of the I-Grid.

“Further,” Dr. Divan continued, “this web-centric approach eliminated the need for users to invest in expensive software and infrastructure. The net effect is that utilities now have available- for the first time, a powerful system for improving customer service and managing their grid at a price point that is not only affordable, but lower than anyone ever dreamed possible.”

The I-Grid’s potential impact was widely recognized among the thirty-plus utilities involved in the utility pilot program. David Hall of WE Energies noted, “A system-wide (grid) monitoring effort would help to improve customer service. But using present (pre- I-Grid) technology, that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Jim Worley of East Kentucky Power Cooperative, illustrating the dramatic impact the I-Grid may have on rural and cooperative utilities, stated, “I am really excited about the web-based I-Grid system. It gives me power quality monitoring, notification, and all the information I need–all at an unbelievable price of $200-$300 per monitor. In fact, I plan on replacing each of my existing $13,000 PQ monitors with the I-Grid system.”

Through the three pilot programs, approximately 1,000 I-Sense power monitors have been shipped and deployed in over 40 states, and over 35,000 power quality events have been recorded to date. Utility I-Grid applications explored range from monitoring customer sites, substations, and feeders, to outage reporting and enabling delivery of value-added services. Fortune 100 and middle-market manufacturers are using the I-Grid to analyze and receive notification of the PQ&R events that shut down their production processes and plants. A Department of Energy-funded I-Grid pilot program in Silicon Valley is designed to determine how the I-Grid can help measure the impact of power quality on the U.S. economy.

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