Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smart Grid

Both Channel 5 and Channel 24 did stories last night about MLGW’s efforts to obtain grants for Smart Grid enhancements. MLGW’s Laura Campbell spoke with reporters from each station, and emphasized the following highlights:

· The federal government has made $3.4 billion of grants available for Smart Grid enhancements, as well as Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) formula funding through the Department of Energy.

· In other words, the federal government is willing to help utilities pay for huge upgrades to their systems.

· The basic concept of Smart Grid is to add monitoring, analysis, control, and communication capabilities to the national electrical delivery system to maximize its capabilities while reducing energy consumption.

· MLGW is applying for some of these stimulus funds, which could lead to greatly enhanced services for MLGW customers.

· There is no guarantee that MLGW will receive the grant, but we are making a strong effort to secure this funding.

· One grant will allow engineers to more closely monitor the downtown and medical center electrical grid.

· The other grant, which is broader in scope, would allow system-wide enhancements that:

o Provide outage notification for each home or business
o Isolate and redirect power during an outage
o Eliminate misreads
o Eliminate estimates
o Eliminate skipped meters
o Improve power quality
o Enable customer choice for payment due date
o Allow for prepaid metering
o Provide real-time information on energy use to control waste and lower costs

· Smart Grid could mean changes at MLGW, including changes in jobs.

· MLGW will have a comprehensive plan to address the impact on employees and ensure that those affected are redeployed to other areas of the company.

· TVA has stated that it will be moving toward Time of Use rates for residential and commercial customers. Time-of-use metering will provide the customer with information to help:

o Lower their costs
o Minimize their carbon footprint
o Minimize the number of power plants needed in the future

· MLGW is determined to have its proposals considered and has asked Sen. Lamar Alexander to encourage the DOE to have all proposals heard before any specific funding is determined. Other legislators will be asked to support the Division in its application efforts.

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