How CenterPoint’s Integrated Smart Grid Is Paying Off
Back in 2009, Texas utility CenterPoint Energy landed a $200 million Department of Energy stimulus grant to carry out a $750 million smart grid project, one of the biggest in the country. It started with 2.3 million smart meters capable of detecting power outages and helping field crews and customers know how quickly they could be fixed, and added some 750 “Intelligent Grid” devices to reroute power across storm-damaged distribution circuits in seconds. Finally, it has connected it all with a high-speed wireless network and an underlying advanced distribution management software (ADMS) platform, one that’s collecting and analyzing data for utility departments from field crews to financial planners.
Early this month, the utility serving the greater Houston area got a thumbs-up from DOE officials for turning that investment into tangible value. On the outage management front, CenterPoint has signed up more than 400,000 customers to its outage auto-alert system, giving them up-to-date notification of when power will be restored. At the same time, it has used its smart meters’ outage detection capabilities to restore power to more than 1 million customers without them having to pick up the phone — the traditional way that utilities learn of power outages on the edges of their network.