In Auburn Electric, City Utilities, Technology

Whether renting or owning, you’ve likely experienced a spike in your monthly utility bills at one point as a result of an unseasonably hot summer or frigid winter. Typically, you don’t realize the ramifications of that spike until you receive the bill. In the future, you’ll be able to monitor your usage – in near real time – in an effort to manage your monthly bill. The ability to do that will come courtesy of a system we already have in place: our Electric SmartGRID.

What is this SmartGRID, you ask? Basically, it is a system that monitors, controls and reports on the transmission, distribution and customer metering of utilities via a centralized management system. For nearly a decade, the City has used SmartGRID in its electric substations and with a select group of extreme high consumption customers. But now, empowered by a high-speed fiber communications network, your utility is enhancing the current system and extending it to every customer.

With funds provided by a federal government stimulus grant, we plan to complete the construction of our SmartGRID in the next 18-24 months. One of the project components is to provide a customer-facing tool—one that helps City utility customers monitor their utility usage. This puts the ability to manage electricity usage right in the hands of those paying for it.

The goal of a true SmartGRID is two-fold:

  • Efficiently operate the city utility services: Through a more constant and effective operation of power delivery, we’ll garner greater efficiencies, lower costs, less outage time, and the early identification and proactive response to system disturbances—all while continuing to maintain one of the lowest electric rates in the U.S.
  • Empower customers: By putting energy conservation tools into the hands of our residential and commercial customers, they’ll have the ability to monitor and manage usage in near real-time—effectively allowing them to manage their utility expenses. For residents in a recovering economy, every dollar counts. And for commercial customers – where the savings could be thousands of dollars every month– this is even more so.

Keep posted to this blog. We’ll keep you updated on our progress as we solidify the SmartGRID infrastructure and continue to provide value to the City and citizens alike.

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