North Carolina sustainable group pushes state to develop energy storage sector
The emerging energy storage industry is charging up across the country, and North Carolina can continue advancing its clean energy leadership by identifying opportunities to develop its storage sector, according to a new report from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).
The analysis, which recognizes storage’s ability to improve the efficiency of the grid and to smooth intermittent generation by renewable resources, recommends North Carolina begin preparing its legal and regulatory framework to allow both utilities and consumers to begin installing batteries. “Batteries Included: Identifying and Approaching Barriers to Batteries on the Grid” examines barriers facing and approaches available for advancing storage in North Carolina, which is home to a $4.8 billion clean energy industry.
The report comes on the heels of the announcement that North Carolina became the fourth state in the nation to reach 1 GW of installed solar capacity. Under the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, reliance on renewable energy will increase in coming years.
Solar, the fastest-growing renewable energy resource in North Carolina, is an intermittent resource, but when paired with batteries its generation profile can be smoothed. According to the analysis, North Carolina has taken steps to advance storage in the state, but key opportunities remain.
North Carolina is a prime location for the storage industry, which is expected to reach $20 billion in revenues by 2020, according to NCSEA. To grow the industry in North Carolina, the report suggests steps to improve the state’s current regulatory and policy landscape, based on an in-depth analysis that applies methods of addressing nationally-observed barriers to North Carolina’s landscape.
“North Carolina has a rich history of taking the lead on clean energy advancements,” said Peter Ledford, report author and regulatory counsel for NCSEA. “We were the first state to have utility-scale batteries when they were first installed in the 1980s; we were the first state in the Southeast to have one gigawatt of solar; and we will be the first state in the Southeast to have a utility-scale wind farm.”
While battery storage will not solve every issue facing our electric grid, Ledford notes they are a tool that should and, as costs continue to decline, increasingly will be used in advancing North Carolina’s clean energy economy.
“NCSEA is taking a leadership role with storage because technology advancements and price decreases mean storage will be deployed sooner rather than later. Taking the initial steps recommended in this analysis will help North Carolina maintain its leadership position as the clean energy hub of the Southeast,” Ledford said.
Because collaboration will be a formative driver of the success of storage in North Carolina, the report recommends convening a working group of interested stakeholders that will develop an action plan for the state. Other recommendations include regulatory actions that can spur a market for storage to provide ancillary services, and creating new rate tariffs to enable use of batteries among residential customers.
PG&E stepping up expansion of electric vehicle fleet
Pacific Gas & Electric plans to invest one-third of its annual fleet purchases in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) over the next five years, totaling more than $100 million.
PG&E operates approximately 1,400 plug-in electric and electric hybrid vehicles, which it called one of the largest such fleets in the nation. The company currently dedicates about 15 percent of its fleet budget to plug-in electric technology. The $100 million commitment will add more than 750 plug-in electric units to PG&E’s fleet of over 14,000 vehicles, roughly double the current pace.
“The electrification of our transportation system will be essential in helping California to meet its long-term goals for greenhouse gas reductions. Converting more of our fleets to electric vehicles is a powerful way for the utility industry to take the lead and set an example,” said Tony Earley, chairman, CEO and president of PG&E Corp.
Over and above the reduced carbon footprint and lower tailpipe emissions, PG&E has found that plug-in electric vehicles offer a wide-range of benefits, from lower operating costs for fuel and maintenance to extended vehicle life.
“We are seeing full payback on the increased initial investment in less than five years in many cases. In addition to the fuel savings, we’re seeing dramatically lower vehicle emissions and a better on-the-job experience for our crews,” said David Meisel, senior director of transportation services for PG&E.
PG&E leads the utility industry in incorporating PHEV technology in its own fleet, including pioneering electric power takeoff systems on the utility’s “bucket trucks.” This technology allows crews to operate all on-board equipment, including the aerial device and auxiliary systems, via a series of batteries, eliminating the need to idle the trucks at worksites.
In addition, last year PG&E acquired the utility industry’s first plug-in electric Class 5 utility work trucks from Efficient Drivetrains Incorporated. PG&E is now working on the deployment of the utility industry’s first class of bucket trucks with plug-in electric drivetrains.
National Grid deploys CEIVA’s demand response system throughout 2015
CEIVA Energy announced that a residential demand response management system powered by CEIVA’s technology has helped more than 1,000 National Grid customers save 20 percent more electricity during times of peak demand, denoted by National Grid as peak events. The findings are from National Grid’s Smart Energy Solutions Program, which deploys smart energy technology, advanced infrastructure and tiered energy rates to help electric customers in Worcester, Mass., reduce their energy bill and support demand response programs.
Launched in January 2015, the Smart Energy Solutions program deployed CEIVA’s Entryway-a demand response management system that allows utilities to dynamically manage the demand response program and cost-effectively align demand with supply. Through Entryway, National Grid can segment customers, monitor and control a range of smart energy technologies, enable the smart meter home area network and access full reporting and analytics.
As part of the Smart Energy Solutions program, National Grid offers a free “energy kit” of in-home technology options to its customers. The options include digital picture frames, smart thermostats, direct load control devices and smart plugs. In addition, it includes CEIVA Energy’s Homeview customer engagement solution to collect detailed energy data directly from smart meters and present it to customers via a mobile app, website and the digital picture frame. Homeview also lets customers opt out of peak events and better control their smart devices, such as thermostats and plugs.
Approximately 11,000 Worcester residents are participating in the Smart Energy Solutions program; of those, 1,000 opted to enroll in one of the in-home technology options.
Through mid-August, the program demonstrated impressive results:
- Smart Energy Solutions customers who enrolled in one of the technology options saved an additional 20 percent on their energy bills compared to those who did not.
- Most Smart Energy Solutions participants reduced electricity use and cost.
- Of the 10,500 National Grid customers in the Smart Rewards Pricing program, which provides lower daily pricing in exchange for higher pricing during peak events, 60 percent have saved between $20 and $80 on bills.
Additionally, key insights about the program in areas such as outage management and customer service were incorporated into a grid modernization plan which National Grid submitted with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.
“National Grid is committed to helping our customers take control of their energy use,” said William Jones, director of the National Grid Smart Energy Solutions Program. “We are delighted that our work with CEIVA Energy is delivering compelling benefits to many of our customers and look forward to incorporating valuable lessons learned across our operations.”
CEIVA Energy’s smart technology platform integrates with a broad range of leading companies focused on smart energy, including Itron, Carrier, Verizon, Safeplug and Digi.
WalletHub ranks the lower 48 most and least energy efficient states
New York is the continental United States’ most energy efficient state, while South Carolina ranks at the bottom, according to a recent study by online financial site WalletHub.
All states but Hawaii and Alaska were rated on two factors: home energy and car energy efficiencies. WalletHub calculated the former by factoring in overall energy consumption with annual degree days; for the latter, it divided annual vehicle miles by gallons of gasoline consumed.
New York was fourth in both categories but its collective score put it atop the WalletHub rankings. Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Utah rounded out the top five energy-efficient states, while Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas and Louisiana joined South Carolina at the bottom of calculations.
Hawaii and Alaska were left out due to what WalletHub called “data limitations.”
The release cited 2013 U.S. Energy Information Administration data indicating that the average American household spent $1,945 on heating, cooling, appliances, electronics and lighting in a year.
Within the study, a panel of energy experts also offered ideas on how consumers can utilize energy efficiency in home construction and everyday use.
“For new construction, the biggest hurdle has been in the financing of energy efficient systems,” said Christian T. Dogg, architecture professor at Auburn, said in the WalletHub report. “Banks and appraisers have been slow to understand the long-term value of investing in additional insulation and other energy efficient strategies.”
Utah was No. 1 in home energy rank, while Florida headed up the car energy list. Utah’s weather-adjusted home-energy consumption was twice as efficient as Louisiana’s, while Florida’s car-energy consumption was twice as efficient as North Dakota’s, according to the report.
The complete WalletHub report is available at https://wallethub.com/edu/most-and-least-energy-efficient-states/7354/.
EYE ON the world
Alstom delivers 800-kV HVDC transformer for India project
Alstom has successfully manufactured and delivered India’s first 800-kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transformer for the prestigious Champa-Kurukshetra ultra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) phase one link. The project will connect the power station of central India near Champa to the demand center, in northern India at Kurukshetra, through a 1,365-km transmission line; creating an ‘energy superhighway’ of efficient power transmission.
This is the first of nine power transformers for the project that has been built in Alstom’s largest transformer manufacturing and testing facility in India. The transformer, measured at 13 meters long, 5.3 meters high and 5.1 meters wide, weighs 310 tons. Once erected at site, it will weigh an additional 175 tons. The transformer travelled over three months to cover a distance of over 2,000 kilometers to reach the project site at Champa. The second transformer, already dispatched, is expected to reach Champa by December.
Alstom delivers 800 kV HVDC transformer at project site in Champa, India
“Alstom is delighted to have achieved such a significant milestone for this project,” Patrick Plas, senior vice president, Grid Power Electronics and Automation, Alstom Grid, said. “These massive transformers will substantially improve grid connectivity by seamlessly transferring power across five electrical regions of India. Alstom has been a key player in HVDC for over 50 years and the company is currently executing two 800kV UHVDC bi-pole projects in India. The 800kV HVDC transformers are locally manufactured from Alstom’s world class facilities and reinforce its leadership in the transformer market.”
For this turnkey project, Alstom will also deliver 32 converter transformers, 24 double Thyristors valves, 400/220 kV gas and air-insulated switchgear and substation equipment, including Alstom’s first AIS 800 kV high speed Direct Current (DC) switch. The turnkey work includes overall project management, studies, design, engineering, training, manufacture, civil works at site, site erection, testing and commissioning.
Alstom has delivered over 40 HVDC projects worldwide and is currently executing projects such as DolWin3 in Germany and Rio Madeira in Brazil.
Alstom provides services in the power generation, transmission and rail infrastructure sectors. The company employs 88,000 people globally.
Suzhou, Furukawa Electric ink deal to provide optical ground wire for Peruvian transmission projects
Suzhou Furukawa Power Optic Cable Co. (SFPOC) and its parent firm Furukawa Electric has been awarded a new contract by Proyecto Infraestructura Del Peru (PDI) which is a subsidiary of ISA Colombia to supply optical ground wire (OPGW) and fittings for one of the largest power transmission projects in Peru, the companies announced in October.
SFPOC is a joint venture of Furukawa Electric, based in Japan, and Jiangsu Etern Group of China. The joint venture specializes in the design and manufacture of loose tube optical ground wire for customers globally.
In recent years, power transmission infrastructure investment in emerging Asian, African and Latin American countries has steadily increased, and there has been stable demand for OPGW. Demand for renewable energy systems including wind, solar, hydro, and the like are expanding even in developed countries, primarily in the U.S., resulting in vigorous investment in power transmission lines.
SFPOC has been awarded a new contract for supply of 980 kilometers worth of OPGW and associated hardware and fittings for one of the largest 500-kV power transmission line projects in Peru owned by Proyectos De Infraestructura Del Peru (PDI), an extension in Peru of ISA Colombia that links Mantaro and Montalvo. The OPGW cable was custom designed to withstand harsh topographical and environmental conditions along the route of the transmission line, such as extremely long span, high wind and corrosive atmosphere.
SFPOC has completed the supply of 1,100 kilometers OPGW for Nalcor Energy in Newfoundland, Canada, last year, and another large project of 1,000 kilometers for Interchile is yet to come this year.
“It is a great pride and privilege for us to work with ISA Colombia on these great projects,” said Hiroyuki Otake, director, vice president of Furukawa Electric. “We already have a strong base in Brazil in the form of Furukawa Industrial S.A. Produtos Electricos, a subsidiary of Furukawa Electric which caters to the southern part of Latin America. Winning this large contract proves Furukawa Electric’s presence and strength in serving the OPGW needs of entire South America with unique engineering technology and high capabilities to deliver.”
SFPOC’s website indicates the company has a production capacity of 13,000 kilometers of optical ground wire per year.
Avantha cuts ribbon to open support center for ERDF Linky meters
Avantha Group Co. CG (CG) in mid-October showed off its new Smart Grid Solution Center in Grenoble, France, a high-tech site specialized in smart solutions of high-voltage (HV), medium-voltage (MV) and low-voltage (LV) electricity networks.
Last year CG announced the selection of Grenoble for establishing the center for ZIV smart grid solutions in France. The production at the facility will begin in January 2016, according to the timetable indicated by ERDF. CG will also contribute to the creation of sustainable local employment, as this center will make available around 200 direct and indirect jobs in the area, once full production capacity is reached.
Avantha Smart Smart Grid Solution Center
Having been selected as one of the six companies to manufacture the ERDF Linky meters to be deployed in France, the facility in Grenoble is in line with providing local support to ERDF that announced in 2014 a massive deployment of 35 million smart meters by 2021. With France hosting and presiding over COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference marking its commitment to keeping global warming below 2 C, CG plays an important role by providing smart solutions for energy efficient sustainable electricity networks that contribute to the goal of reducing global warming in the world.
“With the inauguration of the ZIV Smart Grid Solution Center in Grenoble, we are delighted with ZIV’s commitment, key player of the smart grid market, supporting us in the deployment of the Linky smart meters program in France. The success of this major ERDF industrial program is based on a strong partnership with all mobilized industrial companies”, said Catherine Cros, ERDF industrial director, in a statement.
CG’s CEO and managing director, Laurent Demortier, said, “We are pleased to present our new world-class facility in Grenoble and thank everyone who has helped us in making this a reality. We remain focused on making the smart grid a tangible reality by providing solutions born from innovation and Grenoble serves as the perfect place to set up a facility of this kind.
“With Europe’s smart metering market expected to grow sharply and hit 180 million units by 2020, the Grenoble facility, together with the existing facilities in Spain, will enable CG to address the demand from large-scale deployments in France, UK, Spain the Netherlands and other countries in the area,” Demortier said.
European energy executives predict self-supply surge within five years
More than a third of energy executives in Europe believe that it will become common for customers to self-supply energy and go off grid by 2020, according to a new major survey released by Vlerick Business School’s Energy Centre in partnership with KPMG. The rapid development of batteries and electric vehicles are identified as important drivers for this change.
The survey pooled executives from top distribution system operators (DSOs) in 24 countries on the changes they foresee in the industry landscape in the next five years. These executives represent 70 percent of the European energy customers.
Decentralization and self-supply will affect supply-demand equilibrium. Nearly all respondents (98 percent) think that the trend towards more decentralized electricity generation will continue.
“Decentralized and renewable electricity as well as customers becoming self-suppliers will change the power sector,” Daniel Dobbeni, chairman of Belgium-based Vlerick’s Energy Centre, said in a statement. “Industry actors must therefore quickly acquire new knowledge and experiences. We believe that dedicated education, networking and research will support DSOs in achieving their ambitious objectives.”
Executives expect an even faster moving industry, with big changes in innovation (86 percent), asset management (75 percent) and investment programs (85 percent).
Nearly all respondents (94 percent) expect important changes on a regulatory level, but only a mere 50 percent think that regulatory commissions have a good understanding of the complexity and challenges the industry faces.
Nearly half of the operators (45 percent) do not limit themselves to electricity, but they also manage natural gas networks (39 percent), telecommunication networks (21 percent) or water networks (15 percent). More than half, 65 percent, believe that multi-utility is the future of the DSO business.
Intelligent Energy will handle energy for telecom towers in India
Intelligent Energy, the global energy technology company, will purchase contracts from GTL Limited to supply energy-management services across more than 27,400 telecom towers in India. The deal was signed on Sept. 30.
“This transaction delivers contracted revenues of approximately £1.2 billion over 10 years, which is a major development for Intelligent Energy and the industry,” said Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy Holdings. “Our technology will not only help to bring a stable, reliable power supply to these towers, it will also demonstrate the full power of hydrogen fuel cells today, and in the future.”
Intelligent Energy hopes the deal is transformative for the Indian power grid, previously faulted for stifling India’s economic growth due to persistent unreliability. Over 70 percent of India’s estimated 425,000 telecom towers experience power outages of approximately eight hours per day leaving nearly half of the country’s 935 million mobile phone users frequently disconnected for extended periods, according to the company’s release.
Diesel generators are currently the main back-up power source, but as a fuel, diesel is costly, inefficient, and emits high levels of CO2, NOX and harmful carcinogenic particulate emissions. Hydrogen fuel cells are expected to be more efficient and cleaner and can be more economical on a total cost of ownership basis than diesel generators.
EEI Honors Electric Utilities, Their Executives for Outstanding Customer Service
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) announced in late October the recipients of its 2015 Awards for Outstanding National Key Accounts Customer Service. The awards were presented during EEI’s fall National Key Accounts Workshop.
The two award categories, the National Key Accounts Program Award and the National Key Accounts Executive Award, recognize EEI member companies and national key accounts executives who provide superior service to multi-site customers.
Votes were cast by EEI National Key Accounts customers, representing a wide variety of industries, including national brands such as Costco, HealthSouth, Marriot Hotels, Staples, TJX Companies and Walmart.
Recipients of the National Key Accounts Program Award for Outstanding Customer Service include American Electric Power, Dominion Virginia Power, Duke Energy, PECO, Southern California Edison and Southern Co.
Recipients of the National Key Accounts Executive Award for Outstanding Customer Service include: Ellis Adger, Florida Power & Light; Janet Booker, Southern Co.; Judy Corrigan, Xcel Energy; Barry Mosser, American Electric Power; Greg Read, Duke Energy; and Cindy Verner, also of Southern Co.
“Building and maintaining close relationships with customers are critically important for utilities today as customers’ needs are evolving faster than ever,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “This year’s award recipients are leading the way by providing exceptional customer service, as well as products and services that are helping to make their customers more efficient and more productive.”
The Awards for Outstanding National Key Accounts Customer Service were established by the Customer Advisory Group, a group of 22 national chain customers that provide feedback, guidance, and support to EEI’s National Key Accounts program. EEI’s National Key Accounts is a customer-oriented program where leading multi-site customers and electric utility account representatives collaborate to develop efficient energy management strategies that can be integrated into facilities nationwide.
“The EEI Outstanding National Key Accounts Customer Service Awards reflect the value that the recipients bring to their multi-site customers,” said Art Justice, vice president of energy and sustainability at Cinemark, which is part of the Customer Advisory Group. “These companies and individuals go above and beyond, making the customer experience easier and more productive. They truly set the benchmark for strong utility-customer partnerships that should inspire all utilities.”
EEI’s National Key Accounts program was started in 1988. The Edison Electric Institute represents U.S. investor-owned electric companies.
Smart Grid Interoperability Panel strengthens MOU with IIC
The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) has broadened its liaison with the Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC) to focus on the technologies and testbeds that help advance and promote adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the energy sector.
The agreement strengthens the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through a cooperative relationship focused on aligning IoT architectures and testbed activities. The organizations have agreed to map the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) to the EnergyIoT architecture. It also creates an opportunity for IIC members to engage in EnergyIoT testbeds and SGIP members to participate in new IIC testbeds. In addition, the IIC and SGIP have agreed to formally review key energy deliverables. The two organizations will identify ways for members to participate in new and established testbed activities.
In June 2015, the IIC released its IIRA, which provides a common approach for Industrial Internet systems and guides the design of the Consortium’s testbeds including the Control and Communication Testbed for Microgrid Applications. The SGIP’s EnergyIoT strategy and its current Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB) project focuses solely on the energy industry; its architecture was developed and is consistent with IIRA. (continued on page 13)
Sharon Allan, SGIP’s CEO and President, said, “We believe that IIoT approaches are the future for the energy industry. They can unlock opportunities for distributed intelligence in fielded systems, predictive maintenance, trans-active energy marketplaces, and a variety of innovative solutions we haven’t even thought of yet. The IIC is the perfect partner to ensure the energy industry achieves IoT interoperability within our own industry and can realize even greater interoperability opportunities outside our industry.”
Stan Schneider, CEO of Real-Time Innovations and a member of the IIC Steering Committee, said, “This is an exciting opportunity to leverage the IIC’s architectures and philosophy into a key industry. The SGIP’s work on OpenFMB is its first EnergyIoT solution, and we are excited to support that initiative and future IoT initiatives they are planning. We are especially excited to coordinate work within energy testbeds between the two organizations.”
The SGIP is a public-private non-profit collaborative working to identify requirements for interoperability and technical standards. The IIC is an open membership organization with 207 members from 26 countries, formed to accelerate the development, adoption and widespread use of interconnected machines and devices, intelligent analytics and people at work. Founded by AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel in March 2014, the IIC catalyzes and coordinates the priorities and enabling technologies of the Industrial Internet
POWERGRID INTERNATIONAL NAMES PROJECTS OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS
The editors of POWERGRID International magazine-the official publication of DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition-and PennWell Corp. have announced eight finalists for the magazine’s annual electric utility 2015 Projects of the Year awards.
National Grid, PPL Electric Utilities, Duke Energy Ohio, Pacific Gas & Electric, CenterPoint Energy, Hawaiian Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric and BC Hydro earned finalist consideration for projects ranging from weather outage alerts to progressive infrastructure modernizations. Finalists were selected in four categories: Customer Engagement, Renewable Grid Integration, Demand Response/Energy Efficiency and Grid Optimization.
POWERGRID International Editor in Chief Teresa Hansen will announce the winners live Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, during the DistribuTECH Awards Dinner in Orlando.
“We’re excited to make this announcement. We had more entries for all categories this year, including more than three times as many entries for the grid optimization category. While the added entries made our job harder, it’s exciting to see that electric utilities are seizing the opportunities that new technologies offer,” Hansen said. “The finalists represent the best of the best, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that many outstanding projects were submitted and many that did not make this very short list are deserving contenders.”
Finalists for the 2015 Customer Engagement Project of the Year are National Grid for its WeatherBug program and PPL Electric Utilities for Universal Outage Alerts.
Finalists for Demand Response/Energy Efficiency Project of the Year are Duke Energy Ohio’s HÃµM Energy Manager and Pacific Gas & Electric’s Supply Side pilot.
Finalists for Renewable Grid Integration Project of the Year are Hawaiian Electric Co.’s rollout of In-Line Power Regulators to handle challenges with circuits high in solar photovoltaic and San Diego Gas & Electric’s Advanced Distribution Management system.
The Grid Optimization Projects of the Year finalists are BC Hydro’s Downtown Vancouver Automated Open Loop and CenterPoint Energy’s Advanced Metering and Intelligent Grid Initiatives. The Grid Optimization award was formerly known as Smart Grid Project of the Year.
An article about the winning projects will appear in the magazine’s March edition.
PA Consulting Group Names Most Reliable U.S. Electric Utilities
Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) led the way when PA Consulting Group on Oct. 22 named the winners of its most reliable utilities in the United States.
The 15th annual ReliabilityOneâ„- Award winners spanned the nation, but FPL shined as the best overall for 2015. Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $2 billion to strengthen its system, the utility reported.
“This award is a direct reflection of the commitment of our employers, who each and every day deliver outstanding value for our customers,” FPL CEO Eric Silagy said in a statement. “We are constantly working to improve our service by investing in innovative technology that makes our grid stronger, smarter and more resilient, particularly where it concerns Florida’s severe weather.”
PA Consulting also honored six utilities as regional ReliabilityOne Award recipients. They include: Northeast Region-Consolidated Edison Co. of New York; Mid-Atlantic-Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (PSEG); Southeast-FPL; Midwest-WE Energies; West-San Diego Gas & Electric; and Plains-Xcel Energy Minnesota.
Consolidated Edison, PSEG, FPL and San Diego Gas & Electric are repeat winners in their categories. Last year’s overall winner was San Diego Gas & Electric.
Midsize utilities named for outstanding reliability performance in 2015 include Indianapolis Power & Light, Mississippi Power and Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM).
“The ReliabilityOne Awards program recognizes electric utilities for providing customers with the highest levels of reliability in the industry,” said Jeff Lewis, PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne Program Director. “With the energy industry continuing to be challenged by new regulations and threats such as cyberattacks, it is imperative that we recognize the leaders in this industry who are paving the way with innovative technology and superior customer engagement. Our ReliabilityOne recipients take great pride in protecting the reliability of the electric system.”
FPL is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving approximately 4.8 million customer accounts across nearly half of the state of Florida. In the past 10 years, the utility has strengthened nearly 600 main power lines, cleared vegetation from 120,000 miles of lines, installed 4.8 million smart meters and more than 12,000 other intelligent devices that help reduce outage times and give customers information to manage energy use.
Some of these same utilities were singled out for specific accomplishments in reliability. PSEG, based in New Jersey, received the award in the category of Outstanding Customer Engagement. PSEG received the award for successfully managing multiple channels to ensure that key stakeholders including customers, regulators, government officials and the media all receive clear and consistent messaging during both blue-sky and major events. The company’s corporate communications department engages over 72,000 Twitter followers, nearly 60,000 Facebook followers, more than 1.2 million email accounts and a significant presence on LinkedIn.
FPL also won this year’s Technology & Innovation Award. The company leadership was lauded for embracing the benefits that new technology can provide to enhance FPL’s overall outage restoration and management process.
FPL employees also enhanced their mobile application, which is capable of running on both tablets and smart phones.
PA awarded San Diego Gas & Electric the recognition for Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event for its efforts during the May 2014 wildfires. SDG&E used state-of-the-art computing and advanced analytics to monitor the largest utility weather network in the world and track winds on every high risk circuit every 10 minutes.
This ensured response and restoration activities could be conducted strategically, according to PA Consulting. Ultimately, 12 wildfires affected their service territory over six days interrupting over 50,000 customers, destroying 65 structures, 46 homes and causing over $60 million in damages.
Consolidated Edison of New York was awarded PA’s Outstanding System-wide Reliability for the eighth year in a row for providing its customers with system wide reliability that is 85 percent better than the industry average. Con Edison incorporates planning criteria for outage contingencies that are more stringent than most in the industry. As a result of this substantial investment, the average customer on Con Edison’s system can expect an outage about once every 10 years.
PSEG also captured the honors for Outstanding Outage Response Time, which recognized the best outage response time for customers experiencing an outage out of the Regional ReliabilityOne winners. PSE&G restored customers 30 percent faster than other large investor-owned utilities, according to the report.
The award reception was held at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Miami before an audience that included senior management of leading utilities, union representation and leading energy industry experts.