AEP approved for smart meter roll-out in Ohio
February 14, 2017
Within four years more than a million electricity users in Ohio will have smart meters following the state’s Public Utilities Commission granting approval to AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power, to implement phase two of its GridSmart plan.
This includes the installation of 894,000 smart meters in 31 communities throughout Ohio over the next four years; phase one saw 132,000 installed.
In addition to smart meters, AEP Ohio will expand the use of automated equipment on its distribution system to reduce restoration times, reduce the number of customers affected when power outages occur and allow crews to work more safely. The company also will use technology known as Volt Var optimisation, which reduces energy usage without any action required by the customer.
"These advanced grid technologies will give our customers information to better manage their energy use and save money, while enabling AEP Ohio to improve the quality and reliability of service for our customers," said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. "This plan expands our successful GridSmart demonstration project and allows us to reduce the number, size and duration of outages for customers, cut energy consumption, and decrease operational costs."
Phase two follows a pilot programme that began in 2009 in north-east central Ohio. As part of that project, AEP Ohio installed 132,000 smart meters and outfitted 70 electric distribution circuits with equipment to reduce the extent and duration of outages and 17 circuits with equipment to improve efficiency.
Smart meters provide multiple benefits to customers, including more information and control over their energy usage and virtually eliminating estimated meter readings. Smart meters also can detect and report outage information to AEP Ohio so crews can restore power faster. The completion of phase two will bring more than one million smart meters to AEP Ohio's service territory.
Over the next six years AEP Ohio will install automated reclosers on 250 circuits. Automated reclosers provide crews with more information to identify the cause of outages and can operate themselves to route power around a problem.
Volt Var optimisation technology allows for the adjustment of voltage levels. Slight variations in voltage can reduce energy usage by two to three per cent and lower customer bills without any change in a customer's equipment or behaviour. This technology will be installed on 160 circuits.
AEP Ohio delivers electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of AEP's subsidiary Ohio Power in Ohio. The company is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the USA, delivering electricity to nearly 5.4 million users in 11 states.