T&D World Magazine

OG&E Selects More Partners for Key Aspects of Smart Grid Program

After a detailed competitive bidding process, OG&E has entered into agreements with industry leaders Corix Utilities Inc.; EnergyICT; Comverge, Inc.; Silver Spring Networks, and Global Energy Partners to provide critical elements of its Positive Energy Smart Grid Program, beginning with full deployment in Norman, Oklahoma, next year.

OG&E will use smart grid technology to reduce operations costs and provide customers with more information to help them manage their energy use and save money. The company projects this technology will help OG&E maintain reasonable electricity rates and continue reliable delivery of electricity.

Corix Utilities will coordinate installation of GE smart meters for all residential and most businesses in Norman between February and May of 2010 and will install smart meters when the smart grid is expanded into the rest of OG&E's service territory. The new smart meters will operate similar to existing meters but also will transmit electricity information through a wireless network to OG&E for billing and service purposes.

Smart meters also can serve as communications gateways with devices or appliances in customers' homes.

EnergyICT (an Elster Group Co.) will provide its scalable meter data management solution (MDMS), which specifically meets OG&E's comprehensive business and technical requirements. The ElServer MDMS will manage, among other information, all automatic metering infrastructure (AMI) data and complex billing rates, and provide validation, estimation, editing (VEE) and interfaces to third-party systems.

Comverge has been selected as OG&E's partner to provide multiple services including full marketing support to recruit 2000 to 3000 Norman customers in the first four months of 2010 for a time-of-use pricing pilot program. Participants will receive information in almost real-time regarding the price of electricity and the amount being used. Comverge also will schedule installation of home area network devices for the study and provide technical support to study participants.

Silver Spring will provide the overall home-area networking and demand response solution, including its new web portal, CustomerIQ (formerly known as Greenbox). CustomerIQ will provide energy usage information for the Norman customer study. Greenbox provided a portal for OG&E's initial customer study in northwest Oklahoma City begun in the summer of 2008. Silver Spring will provide the in-home devices and programmable communicating thermostats for the Norman study also.

Global Energy Partners, will be responsible for measurement and verification of results for the Norman customer study to ensure the statistical validity of the results. OG&E will make future product and marketing decisions based on the customer response data.

"By partnering with some of the industry's best in smart grid technology, we are building an integrated solution that will benefit our customers, our employees, and our shareowners," said Ken Grant, managing director of OG&E's smart grid program. "Now we've moved into high gear for deployment of distribution automation, AMI, smart meter delivery and installation, and customer demand response recruitment in Norman between January and June of next year."

A few weeks ago, OG&E announced other smart grid technology partners, including GE Energy delivering the smart meters, Silver Spring Networks the unified network platform and The Structure Group for assistance in business management of smart grid implementation and utility transformation.

OG&E recently was named as one of the 100 entities to negotiate for receipt of a Department of Energy stimulus grant for smart grid technology deployment. The $130 million grant could contribute a substantial portion of the cost of full deployment of smart grid technology across OG&E's entire service territory.

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