Number 1170

The Smart Grid is delivering
on its promises.

Taking part in history probably wasn’t on the minds of David Handley or Ryan Blanks as they rode the bucket truck to the top of a pole last April 24th. But in fact, that is exactly what they did as the 1170th IntelliRupter was installed that day. It was a tremendous visual representation of a huge milestone on our journey to building the Smart Grid, a vision that took nearly 3 years to realize. It was historical and as several participants recall, “Kind of a big deal”. We second that.

We think it’s a huge deal that what used to be merely a possibility is now reality. The Smart Grid is delivering on its promises. Real-time communication between components recognizes a disruption and instantly and automatically “reroutes” power to minimize the length of an outage or avoid it all together. This “self-healing” system has already exceeded outage duration reduction goals of 40%. That means the Smart Grid saved more than 7,667,509 customer outage minutes this year. But that’s not all. Our Smart Meters, while they’re designed to help customers monitor energy usage and costs, they’ve also helped significantly reduce the number of truck rolls during outage restoration efforts. So much has been accomplished. It’s a big deal to say the least.



Bring It

Customers and employees, like Tinika Jennings, get back to enjoying their normal lives much faster thanks to
the Smart Grid.

IntelliRupters don’t mind the rain. In fact, during the 2011 Labor Day weekend, a tropical storm dumped nearly ten inches of water on the scenic city. Nearly 64,000 homes and businesses would have been affected prior to distribution automation. However, even though the storm was still raging, the Smart Grid began the healing process. Instead, 25,000 of those customers either experienced nothing or had power restored without noticing any kind of significant interruption. Those numbers would have been even higher, except only 32% of the IntelliRupters were installed and configured at the time.

“This is a distinct benefit of the Smart Grid,” explains EPB Smart Grid Development Manager Jim Glass. “The trouble shooting and switching that used to take two trucks and a dispatcher an hour or more is automated, taking only one or two seconds.” That’s a mere blink of an eye. During this storm the EPB dispatch center handled 105 switching operations remotely. And, by utilizing the AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) system to verify that power had been restored, 140 truck rolls were completely avoided. Ultimately, this kind of automation and monitoring allows customers and employees to get back to their normal lives faster in addition to saving on costs associated with restoration.


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We measure success by positive results for our customers, not by awards. But sometimes they come anyway.

We appreciate the positive validation and recognition by Greentech Media given to the many people of EPB who do such great work. GTM is an industry insider who understands and reports on how energy utilities are moving beyond conventional metering and distribution to automated distribution, distributed generation, and advanced metering infrastructure. In 2011, after reviewing project nominations for several of the most innovative utilities in North America, Greentech Media/GTM Research recognized EPB for ‘Best Distribution Automation’ out of the “Top Ten Utility Smart Grid Deployments in North America”.

We have the most automated grid in the country. Our robust communication structure allows us to talk with our devices and our devices to talk with each other. No one else has this much automation in one place. It makes real-time adjustments, frequently without operator intervention, so that outages are avoided all together or seen only as a tiny blink in service. In the event a power outage does occur, restoration times are greatly reduced offering yet another big benefit of Distribution Automation. And this year, according to Greentech Media/ GTM Research, our system was the best around.



Smart Meter

Thanks to Smart Meters, we can advise customers more quickly and more accurately than
ever before.

Reductions in outage duration and faster power restoration are a huge benefit of the Smart Grid. Another is the real-time customer service that Smart Meters provide our EPB Customer Service Representatives. Not only can Smart Meters relay information automatically to EPB for billing services, eliminating the need for an on-site visit, they also empower customer service representatives with the ability to see a more detailed picture of a customer’s usage. Before Smart Meters, Customer Service Representatives could only see usage from month to month. Now we are able to review in fifteen-minute increments. So, imagine a customer calls in and is curious as to why last month’s bill is higher. Our rep could look back, see the usage was above the customer’s average for a particular day or week that month, thus making it easier for them to determine what could have been different during those specific times. Being able to advise our customers in a more accurate way is yet another benefit afforded by Smart Meters.

As we develop even more aspects of the Smart Grid, Smart Meters will continue to provide more benefits and information that offer energy management opportunities for the community and all our customers.