GTM Research is pleased to recognize the following utilities as the "Top Ten North American Utilities in Smart Grid." (We announced the winners last week -- today we go into the details.)  

In addition, special awards have been delegated to Baltimore Gas & Electric, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, and EPB for Best Advanced Metering Infrastructure, Best Consumer Engagement and Best Distribution Automation, respectively.
 
2013 also marks the second year in a row that APS, Duke Energy, Oncor, Pacfic Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and EPB have received this honor. Executives from eight of the award-winning utilities will be presenting at The Networked Grid 2013, Greentech Media’s flagship smart grid conference, occurring March 20-21 in West Lake Village, California.
 
Top Ten Recipients (in alphabetical order)
 
Arizona Public Service (APS)

Much of the work APS is currently doing has been behind the scenes. Nevertheless, the utility remains a visionary in its approach to realizing a smarter grid. In an effort to improve reliability, APS is currently piloting fault location isolation and restoration (FLISR) and fault indicators, as well as integrated voltage control and conservation voltage reduction. 
 
APS was also a pioneer in transformer monitoring -- its TOAN (transformer oil, analysis, notification) system is currently deployed on slightly fewer than 200 transformers. On the customer side of the grid, APS maintains one of the highest consumer enrollments in its time-of-use pricing program at a staggering 52 percent.
 
In addition, under a Department of Energy grant, the utility is currently studying the effects of high-penetration PV on distribution feeders, taking into account weather, overall load demand, and overall feeder load. The project is currently underway on one of the utility’s radial feeders in Flagstaff. APS also has more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy under contract, including 300 megawatts of customer-sited PV.
 
CenterPoint Energy

While $150 million of CenterPoint’s $200 million DOE grant was dedicated to completing its advanced metering system (AMS) project, CenterPoint has also undertaken ambitious initiatives to improve system reliability, including the deployment of an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) based on Ventyx software, which includes business intelligence and mobile workforce management applications. In addition, CenterPoint is currently in the process of automating close to 200 distribution feeders and 29 substations.
 
In September 2012, the utility completed networking approximately 2.2 million Itron smart meters and routing 15-minute interval data to the Smart Meter Texas web portal. In addition, CenterPoint is currently utilizing eMeter’s MDM for processing work orders and remote disconnects. The system is also soon to be integrated with the utility’s outage management system (OMS).

ComEd

ComEd’s journey to a smarter grid hasn’t been an easy one. Despite a largely successful pilot of 130,000 of smart meters in 2009, and supporting legislation via the Illinois Grid Modernization Act, it was not until late 2012 that the Illinois Commerce Commission finally approved the Exelon subsidiary’s smart grid plan.
 
Under the current schedule, the utility plans to deploy more than 4 million smart meters by 2021 -- making it the largest post-stimulus, non-federally funded project in the United States.
 
Duke Energy

Following the mid-2012 merger with Progress Energy, Duke Energy became the largest utility in the United States, dethroning Exelon, the parent company of winners ComEd and Baltimore Gas & Electric. The merger also makes Duke the utility with the largest demand response portfolio in the United States. Nevertheless, the utility has taken an a la carte approach to smart grid implementation via a myriad of different vendors and technologies.
 
Duke’s current smart grid portfolio has been limited primarily to its Carolina service territories and includes the installation of more than 600,000 Echelon networked smart meters and approximately 105,000 Ambient communications nodes. In addition, Duke has been deploying Tollgrade distribution line sensors.
 
Duke has also been working with Cisco to upgrade legacy serial-based SCADA systems with more modern Ethernet IP-based infrastructure. The company is also installing PMUs in the Carolinas, which will be managed via Alstom’s wide-area situational awareness software. 
 
Oncor

When it comes to outage detection and restoration, Oncor is king. In fact, the Texas-based distribution utility has become so efficient in detecting and restoring outages through its advanced metering system that the distribution operator is oftentimes able to restore power to customers before they are aware power has been lost. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that the company has been able to achieve the success with largely off-the shelf technologies from vendors including Landis+Gyr (AMI), Ecologic Analytics (MDM) and Intergraph (OMS). In addition, Oncor undertook this impressive 3.2-million-meter rollout and IT initiative without the aid of federal funding.
 
Pacific Gas & Electric

Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the largest utilities in the United States, continues to be a smart grid visionary. The company has installed approximately 9.4 million smart meters (electric and gas) and currently has the highest number of residential consumers in the United States enrolled in its critical peak-pricing program.
 
In addition, PG&E is currently working with the California independent system operator (CAL-ISO), to explore the ability of demand response resources to provide ancillary services in order to help facilitate the integration of a higher percentage of renewables. On the more traditional demand-side management front, the utility is also working with Opower and Honeywell in a thermostat assessment pilot.
 
On the distribution grid, PG&E has upgraded or replaced SCADA equipment on 60 substations and 220 breakers, and added fault location isolation and service restoration (FLISR) equipment on more than 50 circuits. In addition, PMUs have been installed at two of the planned twenty-four substations under the partially federally funded WECC project.
 
Portland General Electric

PGE currently has 820,000 smart meters installed and operating. In addition, it was an active participant in the Pacific Northwest Demonstration, a five-year, $178 million stimulus project. Other noteworthy initiatives include the build-out of public EV charging infrastructure and the recruitment of 90 megawatts of distributed backup generation. In addition, the utility is currently testing a 5-megawatt/1.25-megawatt-hour battery as part of the Salem Smart Power project.
 
PGE has also been one of the leading suppliers of renewable energy in the country. A 2011 study by NREL put the utility at the top of the list alongside previous GTM top ten winner Austin Energy in terms of total megawatt-hours supplied by renewable generating sources. Furthermore, the utility recently put out an RFP for an additional 100 megawatts of renewable generation in October 2012. 
 
Sacramento Municipal Utility District

SMUD completed its smart meter deployment in April 2012, networking more than 600,000 smart meters via Silver Spring Networks' communications architecture, all while maintaining customer satisfaction levels in the mid-90th percentile. Additionally, the municipal utility is currently implementing Lockheed Martin’s demand response management system (DRMS) and Aclara’s Consumer Engagement software.
 
On the distribution grid, SMUD currently has initiatives underway to add SCADA to 35 substations and to install sensors, reclosers and capacitors on 90 distribution circuits, as well as to deploy an advanced distribution management system. Furthermore, SMUD is utilizing GRIDiant’s software to perform advanced analysis on transmission and distribution lines to improve reliability and facilitate the integration of renewable generation sources.
 
The municipal utility is also deploying storage projects at customer premises, distribution transformers and at substations. The $5.9 million SolarSmart HomeSM project will install more than 40 residential and community energy storage systems.
 
San Diego Gas & Electric

San Diego Gas & Electric has invested more than $150 million in its smart grid program over the last year via 63 concurrent projects. The Sempra subsidiary also completed its deployment of Itron networked smart meters in Q4. 2012 also saw the installation of an additional 300 SCADA switches, and the initiation of an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) project.
 
SDG&E also has the highest density of rooftop PV of any utility territory in the United States. Coupled with a higher than average rate of electric vehicle adoption, the utility has undertaken ambitious programs to deal with the intermittency issues of distributed loads and generation sources, including deployment of several community energy storage systems, transformer monitors, and new algorithms designed to detect the load profiles of electric vehicles.
 
Work is also continuing at the utility’s Borrego Springs microgrid project, which, when complete, will reduce peak load on local feeders by 15 percent or more, as well as explore best practices for integrating AMI, distribution automation, OMS/DMS, distributed generation and energy storage in an island-able environment. 
 
Southern California Edison

SCE is also in the process of upgrading its distribution management solution. The first phase of the DMS upgrade was completed in April 2012, with volt/VAR control expected to become functional in the early 2013. The utility is also working with GE to help integrate and visualize the data provided by PMUs under its centralized remedial action scheme (CRAS), in order to detect and quickly rectify potential catastrophic, transmission level blackouts. In 2012, the utility also substantially completed its deployment of Itron networked smart meters.
 
The utility has also been a visionary in distributed energy storage, spending more than $1 million to pilot energy storage systems at eighteen customer premises, half of which will be part of the federally funded Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration Project.
 
Best-in-Class Awards
 
Best AMI - Baltimore Gas & Electric

Baltimore Gas & Electric, much like co-winner ComEd, has had a tumultuous path to realizing its smart grid vision. In 2010, state regulators denied the utility’s smart grid plan, arguing that it would force ratepayers to shoulder a large majority of the risks associated with nascent technologies. However, BGE has since addressed those concerns, as well as the 55 metrics developed over the last year and a half to ensure prudent cost recovery.
 
While BGE is still a ways away from completing its smart grid deployment, it is worth noting that the 10 percent of total meters deployed at the time Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Baltimore enabled one of the most expedient responses and outage restoration processes by East Coast utilities impacted by the storm. As of Q4, the utility had deployed approximately 250,000 of 2 million smart meters which are communicating via Silver Spring Networks communications cards, leading to a reduction of 35,000 truck rolls. 
 
Best Consumer Engagement  - Oklahoma Gas & Electric

Underpinning OGE’s “Positive Energy” smart grid initiative was the desire to defer investment in two 165-megawatt gas turbine plants that would likely need to be built without a reduction in peak demand. In order to meet this ambitious goal, it was clear that the utility would need to find ways to help curb and shift consumption -- a daunting task in a state known for poor demand-side management and energy efficiency programs.
 
Mission accomplished. OGE’s three-tiered time-of-use pricing plan, “Smart Hours”, is on par to achieve the level of peak reduction that will ultimately defer the need for the natural gas peakers. On average, the program has saved enrolled consumers (about 45,000 currently) $196 per year and has led to an aggregate load reduction of 67 megawatts. By mid 2013, OGE expects peak savings to be closer to 100 megawatts.
 
Best DA – EPB

The number 1,170 is popular in Chattanooga. That’s because a large majority of the 7.6 million minutes in reduced customer outage time and the $1.4 million that was saved last year can be linked to the installation of 1,170 S & C Electric Company IntelliRupter switches. Additionally, EPB has completed its installation of Tantalus fiber-to-home networked smart meters and is in the process of deploying and integrating OSI’s Monarch distribution management system (DMS). Underpinning the deployment of both switches and smart meters is an all-fiber network supplied by Alcatel-Lucent.

David Wade, EVP and COO of EPB, delivered the utility keynote at The Networked Grid:

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Utilities were nominated internally by utility employees, as well as by vendors currently working in collaboration with utilities, after which GTM Research Smart Grid analysts selected the final award recipients.

Congratulations to all the winning utilities. Many of the utilities will be represented on panels at Greentech Media’s The Networked Grid 2013 Conference, held in Westlake Village, CA on March 20-21, 2013. Registration is still available, and all utility employees qualify for a reduced rate of $199.

About The Networked Grid

The Networked Grid 2013: From Infrastructure to Insights is Greentech Media's flagship smart grid conference. This year's event will examine the evolving electric grid in the context of global trends and opportunities for next-generation energy systems. The conference will be held at The Four Seasons, Westlake Village outside of Los Angeles, CA on March 20-21, 2013. More information and registration is available on the event website: www.networkedgrid.com.

Tags: aps, bg&e, com ed, duke energy, epb, og&e, oncor, pg&e, portland general electric, sce, sdg&e, smud, the networked grid, tng13