CVPS SmartPower ¢, Central Vermont Public Service s planned meter program designed to reduce customer energy use, costs and environmental impacts while improving storm management and establishing a foundation for future grid automation, has taken a big step forward through an agreement on the rules of the road.
Last August, CVPS, the Vermont Department of Public Service and other utilities kicked off collaboration intended to improve electricity metering, storm recovery and efficiency technology statewide. CVPS and the Department of Public Service also announced a new program (CVPS SmartPower ¢) at the state s largest utility that could serve as a model for other Vermont utilities not already involved with meter and grid automation.
Through that effort, we have now reached agreement on functional requirements, telecommunications, cost recovery and other elements of so-called smart metering technologies, CVPS President and CEO Bob Young said. This will provide us with a clear view of the rules of the road.
Young said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) produced through the collaborative will provide tremendous value to CVPS as it prepares to file its SmartPower plan with the Public Service Board. The company expects to do so by the end of March. Both the MOU and CVPS s plan require PSB approval.
Creating CVPS SmartPower ¢ will require the biggest capital investment in our system in our 80-year history, Young said. By developing clear standards jointly with regulators, we have jointly provided not only ourselves, but all Vermont utilities, with a roadmap to the successful implementation of the next generation of meter and grid automation technology.
Every kilowatt-hour saved is one we don t have to produce
Young said implementation of CVPS SmartPower ¢ would take several years and is contingent on securing suitable, cost-effective financing for much of the estimated $42 million project, but he said the cost and effort would pay big dividends for customers and the environment.
CVPS SmartPower ¢ offers the promise of new rate programs that will help customers reduce their energy consumption, electric bills and environmental footprints, Young said. I believe this program will be one of the most important developments in CVPS history, and will have tremendous value for customers and Vermont.
The environmental impacts alone could be substantial. This program, like CVPS Cow Power ¢, will give customers new choices to substantially reduce their impacts on the environment. Every kilowatt-hour saved is one we don t have to produce.
For the past several years, we ve worked hard to develop CVPS Cow Power ¢ into an environmentally positive and economically sustainable customer choice, Young said. It s now one of the fast-growing renewable choice programs in the country, and the most successful in Vermont. We see CVPS SmartPower ¢ as the next key step in helping customers do right by the environment, and we ll be at the leading edge of this exciting new technology.
Young said CVPS s implementation, if approved, would be done in phases, with an initial focus on improved meter data for customers. We expect to go from 1.92 million meter readings per year to 3.84 million per month, Young said. Overtime, the value of smart meters will expand to not only reading meters, but energy efficiency, storm management and other activities.
Words like smart grid, advanced metering infrastructure, and future grid have become common in the utility industry, but there is little consensus on what those terms mean, for utilities or customers. CVPS developed the name CVPS SmartPowerTM so it could define its specific effort and stay away from confusing terms that have different meanings to different audiences.
When announcing the collaborative effort to define a common set of guidelines for new metering technologies last summer, Department of Public Service Commissioner David O Brien said he hoped the CVPS program would be the first step toward an even broader statewide effort that would provide both the kinds of improvements Young described, and broader improvements to the transmission grid in Vermont.
Young said he viewed CVPS SmartPower ¢ as critical to the company and its customers. This single investment has the potential to revolutionize how we read meters, respond to power outages, and reduce electrical consumption, Young said. It can open the path to a whole new world.