National Grid proposes 2012 smart grid pilot in Massachusetts

National Grid USA has filed a proposal with Massachusetts state regulators for a 2012 smart grid pilot, which has an estimated cost of $44.6m, or $12m less compared to the company’s original pilot, the “2009 pilot.”

The company requested in its Dec. 22 filing with the state Department of Public Utilities a decision by June 2012.

National Grid said the proposal maintains the location, size, scope and pricing options of the 2009 pilot, noting that it proposes to implement the 2012 pilot in the northwest part of Worcester, in a 30-square-mile area that includes Webster Square, Tatnuck Square and Airport Hill.

The area’s approximately 15,000 residential and business customers will receive smart grid technology, that is, applicable metering and communications devices, and will be enrolled in the alternative basic service pricing unless they opt out.

The 2012 pilot will provide information to customers on their electricity usage, as well as tools for managing it, National Grid added.

The company will be able to review near real-time operating conditions and begin to analyze the conditions on its system, capitalizing on the greater amounts of data that will be captured as the 2012 pilot proceeds. National Grid also said it will be able to monitor the impact of customer actions on the operation of the local electric grid.

The proposal incorporates smart grid industry advances in various ways, including through the emergence of “cloud computing,” which will enable the company to take advantage of services leased from third parties to gather and manage customers’ energy consumption data, instead of requiring the company to incur the costs of buying, building and operating these systems in-house, as had been proposed for the 2009 pilot.

Furthermore, National Grid said it proposes to use advanced meters with “the latest security protocols and open architecture.”

Additionally, National Grid proposes to perform four new experiments with advanced distribution technology in order to evaluate if the technology can provide the company with greater real time information regarding the performance of the distribution grid to facilitate restoration efforts, system reliability and future system planning, operations and investments.

The company also said it proposes to offer three basic service rate alternatives to further encourage customers to take advantage of the 2012 pilot: a critical peak pricing program, a peak time rebate program and an hourly pricing program.

Customers will be able to shift their electricity usage to lower cost periods or to use less electricity overall.

Noting that it held a “Green2Growth Summit” in September, highlighting how customers are aware of new opportunities to manage energy consumption, National Grid said it proposes to develop a sustainability hub in the state, using a facility in the 2012 pilot area. The hub will serve as a model energy showcase in the community where the company will provide hands-on education and engagement, integrating various smart technology elements within the demonstration space.

Additionally, while outside the 2012 pilot’s scope, National Grid will study the effects of electric vehicles on the grid.

National Grid is a subsidiary of National Grid plc.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.