CenterPoint Energy has been awarded the International Smart Grid Action Network Award of Excellence and the Global Smart Grid Federation Best Smart Grid Project for 2016.The Houston-based Fortune 500 electric and natural gas utility has reportedly developed its smart grid systems over the past ten years, through which it has maintained stable, reliable power supply, reduced power outages resulting in millions in savings for its customers.
CenterPoint has completed its rollout of smart meters for its 3.4 million gas customers and 2.4 million electric customers in 2015. The utility said it will continue its efforts in grid modernisation, with the expansion of its metering and smart grid systems over time.
Kenny Mercado, senior vice president of CenterPoint Energy’s electric operations, commented: “We’re taking intelligent data from the grid, bringing it to the back office, and then we’re creating applications to allow us to do some things more intelligently to get power on faster, to restore service more efficiently and more accurately.
“The biggest driver of that metering technology was to bring meter reading data back to the operating competitive energy market.”
According to Daily Energy Insider, historically meter readings that occurred 50 days late were used to determine how much wholesale supply was needed to serve the market.
Now, CenterPoint’s smart meter technology provides 96 data points per day per meter, “allowing millions of data points to be sent to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the independent system operator for the region.”
Mercado added: “We’re saving on truck rolls, we’re saving millions of gallons of gas, we’re cleaning the air and we’re providing tremendous customer service.”
Smart grid services
The utility also has a Power Alert Service which sends free email, text and phone notifications to customers when their power goes out, gives them an estimated time for repairs and informs customers when power has been restored.[CenterPoint Energy uses smart grid tech to alert consumers to outages]
It is also said to planning a customer preference centre next year which will provide the utility with more data on the needs across CenterPoint’s customer groups.
Mercado concluded by saying: “We are trying to create a digital environment where we are learning what your preferences are and in the future we can become your trusted adviser as you start thinking about more complex questions about what you should do with all of these options.
“We’re trying to equip ourselves with the right technology so that our operations system, our metering system, and our customer system can all work collaboratively to meet the preferences of the customer … We think making investments in our customer relationships is the next step.”
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