T&D World Magazine

TXU and Current Communications to Create Nation's First Multipurpose Smart Grid

TXU Electric Delivery and Current Communications Group, LLC have agreed to transform TXU Electric Delivery's power distribution network into the nation's first broadband-enabled Smart Grid.

Current will design, build and operate the BPL network covering the majority of the TXU Electric Delivery service area, including approximately two million homes and businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and other Texas communities. This modernized grid will enhance TXU Electric Delivery's ability to deliver top-decile electric service reliability and provide the potential for additional products and services from retail electric providers that will enable businesses and consumers to manage their electricity usage and costs.

Overlaid on the existing electric distribution network, the CURRENT BPL network solution incorporates advanced digital communication and computing capabilities that, for the first time, provide real-time monitoring through the electric distribution network, enabling TXU Electric Delivery to:

  • Increase network reliability and power quality.
  • Prevent, detect and restore customer outages more effectively.
  • Implement automated meter reading more efficiently.

Additionally, Current will leverage the same BPL network to provide homes and businesses high-performance broadband and wireless services, including the "triple play" of voice, video and high-speed Internet access delivered over existing electrical lines by simply plugging into any home outlet.

Under the terms of the agreement, TXU Electric Delivery will procure services over 10 years for approximately $150 million to use the Smart Grid capabilities of Current's BPL network. The cost of the service agreement does not materially affect TXU Corp.'s previously disclosed financial outlook.

When the agreements become effective, TXU Corp. will become an equity holder in Current. Existing Current shareholders include Cinergy Corporation, EnerTech Capital, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Google Inc., The Hearst Corporation, and Liberty Associated Partners, LP, of which Liberty Media Corporation is a significant limited partner.

"Current's BPL solution is a critical enabler of our mission to dramatically improve the way we deliver electricity," said Tom Baker, TXU Electric Delivery chairman and CEO. "BPL will enable us to respond more quickly and efficiently to outages of all magnitudes, manage our distribution network more proactively and further safeguard our dispersed critical assets in today's heightened security environment."

"We are immensely pleased to be working with an industry leader such as TXU. This agreement is a milestone for CURRENT as well as for BPL and illustrates the economic advantages of driving multiple applications across a single large scale network deployment," said William H. Berkman, chairman and co-founder of Current Communications Group and managing partner of Liberty Associated Partners. "Today's announcement is solid evidence of how BPL answers the federal government's recent call to create a more efficient and reliable 21st century electricity distribution network."

TXU Electric Delivery and Current expect to begin deploying the BPL network in 2006.

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