American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio has petitioned the state’s Public Utilities Commission to broaden its gridSMART program to more communities throughout its service territory. AEP reports that the second phase of the gridSMART plan includes “the installation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to approximately 900,000 customers; distribution automation circuit reconfiguration (DACR) to improve the reliability of 250 distribution circuits; and volt var optimization (VVO) to better control the voltage of 80 distribution circuits.”
Once the plans is reviewed and approved, AEP Ohio expects the deployment will take four years to complete.
AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer Pablo Vegas notes, “Already, our customers in the gridSMART Demonstration Project have experienced the benefits of having these technologies installed. These proven technologies provide customers with more accurate information to view their energy consumption, improved billing accuracy and enhanced reliability. AEP Ohio has learned from recent significant weather events like the 2012 Derecho and Super Storm Sandy that modernization of the distribution grid can help pinpoint damage more accurately, and ultimately support faster restoration times during future weather events.”
AEP Ohio is integrating AMI with service restoration systems to better detect power outage locations so repairs can be completed more quickly.
Vegas adds: “AMI provides environmental benefits as well. Because we no longer have to send meter readers out to a customer’s home or business, we estimate we will be able to eliminate 187,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by reducing 440,000 miles driven annually.”
Part of the plan presented to the PUCO includes the installation of DACR devices on 250 distribution circuits serving more than 330,000 customers. According to AEP, “These devices are designed to improve reliability by ‘self-healing’ the distribution system through remote monitoring, coordination, and operation.”
For customers that translates to fewer outages and more efficient restoration times.
AEP Ohio provides electricity to approximately 1.5 million customers.
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