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National Grid filed its proposal with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to extend its smart grid pilot in Worcester.In a press statement, the utility company said it plans to expand deployment of its Smart Energy Solutions (SES) pilot programme for an additional two years.

The company wants to learn more how smart grid technologies can improve grid management and customer services.

The decision to extend the timeline of the pilot is a result of an increase in customer satisfaction.

[quote] The utility company is leveraging the initiative to increase integration of power capacity from renewable energy sources into the grid to boost grid reliability, as well as encourage electric vehicle adoption.

Approximately 15,000 National Grid customers have signed up to the programme who are using  tools provided by the utility, such as time of use pricing to lower their power consumption and bills. [National Grid uses forecasting tech to boost efficiency].

National Grid claims that it has managed to lower power outages by using advanced communications and grid automation technologies deployed under the pilot since its launch in January 2015.

Carlos Nouel, vice president of New Energy Solutions at National Grid, said: “Not only does SES help us with ways to better serve our customers through technology, tools and enhanced infrastructure, it has given us an opportunity to innovate and work directly with the Worcester community.”

In its first year, SES achieved a 98% retention rate, 72% customer satisfaction rate and helped customers save $1.25 million on their electricity bills.

The programme was estimated to have allowed consumers lower power usage by 4% during peak periods in 2015.

If the  Department of Public Utilities approves the extension of the project, National Grid will shift the programme’s current end date of 31 December, 2016 to the end of 2018. [National Grid completes transmission line upgrade].

National Grid infrastructure upgrade

The news follows late July's announcement by the company that it has selected energy management solutions firm Itron as a potential supplier of an advanced metering functionality (AMF) in Massachusetts.

The utility serving 3.4 million electricity and 3.6 million gas consumers in New England and New York proposed the use of Itron’s OpenWay smart grid platform to upgrade its grid network.

The power company said it believes that Itron’s technology will help in the real time acquisition, processing and management of grid data.

The solutions provider claims that its technology will help National Grid to improve outage management, demand optimisation, distributed resources integration, workforce and asset management.