Smart Grid

The issue

The Smart Grid initiative is a suite of customer programs and advanced technology initiatives that will transport us into a new era of energy delivery and customer service. It includes consumer programs, new energy delivery system technologies that improve service quality and reliability, local generation and storage devices that respond to energy needs in the neighborhood and internal system efficiencies.

Benefits of Smart Grid
Benefits of Smart Grid
Source: AEP

How we got to this point

Smart Grid programs — such as customer demand-side management programs, distributed energy resources and internal efficiency improvements — have the potential to alter electricity demand patterns. In combination, these programs may reduce peak demand, ultimately delaying the need for new or replacement power generating equipment. That translates to near-term cost savings for customers.

AEP position

gridSMART® initiative features:

  • Customer programs including energy efficiency, conservation and demand response opportunities and options,
  • Distribution automation and advanced metering technologies that improve service reliability, provide real-time use and price information and allow AEP’s facilities to accommodate customers’ new technologies,
  • Distributed resources that respond quickly to local needs and conditions for greater service reliability, and
  • Internal efficiencies by which AEP demonstrates its commitment to overall efficiency improvements.

Customer benefits

gridSMART programs will develop and deploy advanced and emerging technologies that will allow customers to experience:

  • Greater control of energy usage,
  • Enhanced energy conservation opportunities,
  • Increased energy efficiency,
  • Improved customer services including expanded offerings, and
  • Greater service quality and reliability.

Smart Meter
Smart Meter
Smart Meter Install
Smart Meter Install
Source: AEP

Efficiency improvements also can help reduce the need for the fuels used to generate electricity. Reduced fuel use translates directly into lower emissions and a cleaner environment. Working together, everyone can help reduce the carbon footprint.

What the stakes are

  • Rising energy prices: Equipment maintenance needs, high cost of new facilities, environmental requirements and high fuel costs are causing electricity prices to increase,
  • Technology affordability and accessibility: Advanced communications are less costly and more widely available,
  • Environmental action: People are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change,
  • Infrastructure improvement needs: Electric delivery system is 20 or 30 years old and existing equipment needs to be updated to accommodate new technologies,
  • Rising expectations: Customers expect more information about their energy use.

Preparing the Utility for the Future
Preparing the Utility for the Future
Source: EPRI