Oncor Electric Delivery Co. has agreed to purchase CURRENT’s existing Smart Grid network in Dallas, Texas as well as additional equipment for approximately $90 million. This transaction, which involves a large broadband-based Smart Grid deployment will enable Oncor to provide Smart Grid services to up to one-sixth of its service territory. The two companies have also entered into a multi-year agreement whereby CURRENT will license its Smart Grid software systems and sell additional products to Oncor that will allow Oncor the opportunity to expand the Smart Grid network to cover up to one-half of its service territory.
“Through our use of the Smart Grid network, we have been able to detect distribution network issues before they impacted our customers,” said Jim Greer, Oncor senior vice president of Asset Management and Engineering. “The Smart Grid has become an integral part of our operations by providing us new and valuable real-time information on our distribution network. As such, we determined we want to own the Smart Grid network.”
The CURRENT Smart Grid solution includes broadband over power line (BPL) equipment and technology as well as fiber optics, embedded sensing and software analytics to monitor Oncor’s electric distribution system 24x7. The Smart Grid provides Oncor with real time information on the status of its distribution network and provides automated meter reading. With the system, Oncor is better able to manage its network, deliver more reliable power to end users, and predict potential network problems before they impact customers.
“Through its Smart Grid leadership Oncor has validated the benefits of monitoring and managing the distribution of electricity through a widely deployed Smart Grid,” said Tom Casey, CURRENT’s president and chief executive officer. “CURRENT intends to use the proceeds of this transaction to continue to expand our deployments and enhance our Smart Grid portfolio.”
The Electric Power Research Institute projects that Smart Grid-enabled distribution could reduce electrical energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions as well as improve reliability. The Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission of Texas have supported this technology over the last several years, enabling Oncor and Texas to emerge as leaders in deploying Smart Grids. The new federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 sets out as the policy of the United States the implementation of Smart Grid systems to modernize the electric grid.
CURRENT and Oncor expect to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2008.