Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Tantalus completes smart grid deployments for TVA

Iain Morris
May 27, 2014
Smart grid specialist Tantalus has heralded its completion of several advanced metering infrastructure deployments for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The TVA (Knoxville, TN, USA) comprises some 155 distribution utilities serving around nine million customers, and Tantalus says a number of these utilities have been rolling out services using its networking solution, which operates in the 200MHz and 900MHz frequency bands as well as over fixed-line technology.

The same utilities are also using smart meters from Itron and GE and nearing completion of their systems, says Tantalus.

They include Chattanooga EPB, Bristol Virginia Utilities, Johnson City Power Board, Jackson Energy Authority, Lenoir City Utilities Board, Morristown Utility Systems, Pulaski Electric System, Newport Utilities, and Appalachian Electric Cooperative — all of which have Tantalus services for several years and recently begun investing in the provider’s more advanced metering applications.

The two-way smart metering platforms they are developing support a range of services, including interval and on-demand meter reads, remote disconnect/reconnect services, instantaneous outage reporting and over-the-air firmware upgrades.

According to Tantalus (Raleigh, NC, USA) the moves they are making validate some of the trends uncovered in a recent survey of North American municipal and cooperative utilities, with 41% of respondents naming the “need to show value from smart grid investments” as the number one issue to be addressed in 2014.

Respondents also indicated that add-on applications would be the key investment priority for utilities, with attention shifting from basic deployments to the addition of focused niche applications that will demonstrate more value to customers.

One of those applications is closed loop voltage reduction (CLVR), which can be used to dynamically monitor and manage system-wide voltage thresholds in line with real-time demand.

Tantalus claims the feature allows for “unprecedented visibility … of voltage, which has resulted in reported voltage reduction levels of up to 4% with no impact on member power quality”.

“Municipal and cooperative utilities in the Tennessee Valley share a unique set of operational advantages and challenges,” said Tammy Zucco, chief marketing officer of Tantalus, who said the collaboration between Tantalus and those utilities had led to “a more stable and reliable grid, operational savings, and higher quality service for members and customers.”
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