Delaware County Electric Cooperative (DCEC) has selected an advanced metering network that will support a variety of smart grid initiatives the utility is undertaking to improve outage management, manage peak load and provide consumers with more information about energy use.
DCEC will deploy Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream PLC network for advanced metering across its distribution network. The Gridstream network will enable the utility to install two-way load control devices, report outages on a system-wide basis and provide information to consumers through a web portal and in-home displays.
“We have a strong interest in demonstrating what the next generation of advanced metering technology can do for our demand response and outage management programs,” said Greg Starheim, CEO and General Manager of DCEC. “And a big part of this is being able to give our members the information they need to better understand how they are using energy.”
One of the DCEC’s top priorities is replacing its legacy one-way load control receivers with two-way switches that provide confirmation of operation. Among other benefits, this will enable the utility to receive credit for emergency demand response capabilities. The utility will also be working on a pilot project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to demonstrate the efficiency of hybrid electric appliances.
Another factor in selecting Gridstream is the system’s unsolicited outage reporting. According to Starheim, outage management is a particular challenge for the utility because 25 percent of its customers are seasonal residents. Gridstream’s automated outage notification and restoration response will allow the utility to respond to outages as they occur without waiting for customer notification.
The utility will also be studying consumer response to energy information delivered either through the internet or in-home displays that communicate directly with the electric meter, Starheim said. The goal will be to determine how time-of-use rates might be used in addition to controlling water heaters and other appliances as part of a peak load reduction strategy.
Based in Delhi, NY, DCEC is a non-profit, rural electric cooperative utility serving residential, commercial and industrial members/customers throughout Delaware, Schoharie, Otsego and Chenango Counties. The utility received funding for its smart grid project as part of group of 20 cooperatives who applied for a Department of Energy grant through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).