Key challenges shared by utilities include reliability, fast response to problems, and efficiency. Many utilities have installed smart grid systems – including two-way communications – to improve efficiency, security, reliability and resiliency.
When implementing a smart grid, utilities install intelligent devices in their power distribution system, management and control software in substations and their data center, and two-way smart grid communications to link the devices and software. A smart grid enables valuable new applications such as automated metering infrastructure (AMI), feeder automation, outage management, automatic load shedding, and the ability to manage alternative energy sources. The same wireless smart grid communication network that supports these applications can also enable mobile workforce applications in the field.
While smart grid is generally associated with power grids, the same concepts can be applied by gas, water and wastewater utilities to great benefit.
Smart grid benefits for utilities include:
Lower operating costs
– Fewer personnel required in the field, lowering transportation, insurance, and medical costs. Detailed data uncovers problems quickly and reduces fraud.
– Customers can see their usage at any time, helping conservation efforts, and quickly detecting water leaks or faulty thermostats so corrective action can be quickly taken.
Improves customer service and satisfaction
– Utilities can pinpoint system problems - leaks or outages - before customers report them, reducing downtime.
Reduces customer complaints – High-quality, real-time data increases billing accuracy, eliminating estimated bills, and unpleasant surprises for customers.
ABB broadband wireless network solutions enable a wide range of smart grid applications for electric grids as well as significant cost savings.