Getting smarter with our energy consumption

by Stuart Tuttle, Superintendent Administrator, Electric Department

Last month, I shared that, as a municipal utility, we work for rate-payers rather than stock owners. And as a result, we’re constantly motivated to find new and creative ways to provide quality service (electric, water, sewer and refuse/recycling) at an affordable price.

One of those innovative ways we aim to improve our electric service even more (we already offer one of the lowest electric rates in the state!) is through our SmartGRID.

With the help of a 2009 Department of Energy grant, we have been working to create a smart grid to offer a more efficient and effective way to monitor and manage our transmission and distribution power systems. One of the reasons we are able to effectively build a smart grid is because of the high-speed fiber optic infrastructure that was already in place in Auburn—thanks to the forward-thinking Auburn leaders of the 80s, 90s and today.

One of the first ways rate-payers will realize the impact of the SmartGRID technology is through automatic meters. As a two-way communication stream, automatic meters allow you to monitor consumption in real time and then adjust your energy usage and consumption as you see fit to impact your monthly electric bill. Additionally, it allows Auburn Electric to better manage the flow and delivery of electricity across the SmartGRID. Over time, that will result in a more efficient operation that helps us preserve the low rate we offer.

Automatic meters will be installed in the mid-summer 2012 timeframe. We understand that with this new technology will come questions and concerns. In the coming months, watch for future blogs and frequently asked questions about how to integrate the SmartGRID into your lifestyle.