OG&E Electric Services, a utility serving 765,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas, and smart grid infrastructure experts Silver Spring Networks, have announced the successful completion of the initial phase of a Smart Grid technology pilot project.
The project involved the deployment of Silver Spring Networks’ advanced network infrastructure and the Greenbox energy management web-based portal in 25 homes in northwest Oklahoma City. In addition, meters connected to Silver Spring Networks’ advanced technology were installed in about 6,600 apartments in the same area to allow remote initiation and termination of service.
OG&E selected the pilot program location in northwest Oklahoma City due to the area’s historically high number of service calls, approximately 10,000 per year. Using SmartPower monitors and Silver Spring Networks’ networking infrastructure, OG&E was able to respond to service requests and remotely reconnect service during outages in less than 10 seconds. Previously, the process required a field representative to drive to the location then obtain a reading and complete any maintenance work on the meter in person.
OG&E's SmartPower project also empowers customers to better manage their energy consumption by helping them view information about pricing and energy demand in real time, through the Greenbox energy management portal. By partnering with Silver Spring Networks and Greenbox Technology, OG&E allowed customers in the pilot to monitor their minute-by-minute energy usage and adjust habits accordingly.
Silver Spring Networks' IP-based Smart Grid, known as the Smart Energy Network, enables a more efficient, reliable grid that could cut the growth-rate of worldwide energy consumption by more than half over the next 15 years, drastically reduce carbon emissions and enable utility providers globally to realize additional operational and environmental benefits in the future. Silver Spring Networks supports a full-range of smart grid applications, including the advanced metering and home networking applications implemented in the OG&E project.
“Silver Spring Networks’ advanced networking technology is the foundation for OG&E's efforts to respond quickly to service calls and to give customers the option to monitor and reduce their energy use,” said Scott Lang, president and CEO of the company. “The real-time connection between OG&E and the customer enables an immediate exchange of information, which has demonstrated value to the utility and the consumer.”
Consumer response to the OG&E Positive Energy SmartPower project has been overwhelmingly positive. Participating residents said they gained flexibility and control over their household's energy consumption by monitoring their usage on in-home touch screen information panels. In fact, results of the pilot project appear promising enough that OG&E intends to present a plan for expanded deployment to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for their consideration.
"It's the three A's: Awareness, Attitude and Action," said pilot program participant John Wyckoff. "It increased our awareness. It changed our attitude about when we should be using electricity. It made us take action."