Smart Grid - Empowering Customers and Improving Reliability

National Grid is putting customer interaction at the core of its smarter electric network
Published: Tue 15 Apr 2014

National Grid, an electricity supplier to approximately 3.4 million customers in the Northeast, is aiming to provide their customers with improved power reliability. Their customers can also look forward to being faced with a new level of choice and control over their energy consumption.

Under its Smart Energy Solutions Program, National Grid has entered the next phase of its smart grid project and will be completing the installation of Itron’s OpenWay® smart grid platform for its Smart Energy Solutions Program in Worcester, Mass.

Improve reliability, outage responses and customer empowerment

The platform, which features an advanced IPv6 network powered by Cisco, gives National Grid the ability to increase its electric service reliability, improve response times to power outages and empower customers to save energy. National Grid utilizes Itron Services to manage and maintain the network.

In this new phase of the smart grid project, National Grid is using Itron’s smart grid solution to enable consumer engagement programs that give the utility’s customers better insights into their energy use and costs. Their customers (nearly 15,000 participating customers in Worcester) will now have access to information with regards to their consumption patterns. This gives them the ability to make smarter choices about ways in which they can save energy. The technology is offered at no cost to the customer.

The technology options for residential customers include online and mobile energy use applications to monitor and control electric use anytime, digital picture frames with real-time electricity usage information, smart thermostats, as well as electricity control devices to remotely monitor and control home equipment and appliances.

Commercial customers are also expected to have choices of similar technology options.

Later this year, National Grid will also offer customers time-based pricing plans to help customers achieve even more energy savings.

National Grid is using Itron’s smart grid solution to provide two-way communication at the customer meter to deliver detailed energy consumption information at regular intervals. This will enable outage identification and demand response capabilities that will reduce customer energy costs and minimize the impact of power interruptions. In addition, the technology will identify which customers are affected during storms or emergency conditions, thereby improving restoration times.

As part of the program, National Grid will also test full integration of renewable resources and electric vehicle charging stations across the city.

Customers can rely on a smarter, more resilient network

National Grid has upgraded over 80% of the electric system associated with the program with new automation and infrastructure-enhancing devices that will enhance electric service reliability and power outage response.

National Grid Massachusetts president Marcy Reed said the company has reached a significant milestone in its program preparing to deliver full benefits to the customers.

"Our customers depend on us to reliably deliver their electricity, so National Grid is leveraging new technologies to build a smarter, more resilient electric network," Reed added.