Detailed Consumer Usage Information - NYS SmartGrid Consortium

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DetailedConsumerUsage Information

Historically, the monthly utility bill has been the primary interaction between utilities and their customers. Many utilities, notably those in California and Texas, have been aggressively deploying two-way communicating smart meters to all of their customers. Using smart meters, utilities can obtain customer usage information more frequently than once a month – daily or even hourly. Several utilities are making this information available to their customers through their websites.

Many utilities, regulators, and government agencies believe that providing more detailed usage information will help consumers conserve energy and save money. They also envision the smart meters serving as a gateway into the home and communicating with smart devices and appliances to provide even more information and control for consumers. Smart or advanced metering infrastructure is expensive, and there is debate within the industry about how many consumers actually want the enhanced usage data that smart meters provide and about the effectiveness of smart meters at conserving energy.

The debate about smart meters has highlighted uncertainties in understanding customer behavior. Fundamental research is needed to better understand the effects of rate structure, usage information, and control technology on consumer usage behavior. New York’s utilities are conducting trials to better understand the effects of information and technology on consumer energy usage.

Better Customer Control

As part of the Smart Corridor Project, LIPA is installing 2500 smart meters to better understand how technology can change customer behavior. The utility will provide some customers an in-home display that shows their usage in real time and will provide other customers access to their usage information through a web portal. Participating customers will be given a two-tier time-of-use rate.

Click for more details on LIPA 110 Corridor Demonstration Project

"Smart Houses" and "Smart Buildings"

Also part of the LIPA Smart Corridor Project is the creation of a “smart house” and “smart building” at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Farmingdale. The home and building will provide a demonstration site for advanced technologies such as advanced thermostats, in-home displays, communications technologies, smart appliances, etc. The smart home and building will be completed by the end of 2012. The University is also developing a curriculum to train students and field personnel on the technologies.

Click for more details on LIPA 110 Corridor Demonstration Project

Two-way Communications

As part of a $110 million federally funded project, ConEd is demonstrating several customer-located technologies including distributed storage, advanced metering infrastructures, home area networks, photovoltaics, and electric vehicle charging equipment. Customers will be able to make decisions regarding the duration and type of energy used – including solar power – and be able to sell it back to the grid when generating surplus power. ConEd is also demonstrating a demand response control center that sends signals to customers using the Internet. The distribution system operator will be able to see the reduction in consumption on a console. Fans, backup generators, a battery system, and an electric vehicle charging station are all being controlled at a Verizon facility in Queens. Ultimately, the operator will be able to see the amount of curtailable load in the next 15 minutes, 2 hours, etc. The demand response capability studied in this demonstration project could improve the reliability and resiliency of the grid, as well as enable the integration of distributed and renewable generation.

Click for more details on Con Edison Secure Interoperable Open Smart Grid Demonstration Project

Window Air Conditioner Savings Project

ConEd has launched a window air conditioner (A/C) energy savings program called “CoolNYC”. ConEd and ThinkEco plan to create smart A/C control through modlets on 10,000 New York City air conditioners in 2012, resulting in five megawatts of demand reduction. Con Edison plans to distribute the modlets in large apartment buildings throughout New York City, working with building owners and tenants to install the devices. The modlet is a plug-in smart outlet that can be controlled by a smart A/C thermostat and a user’s online modlet account, allowing customers to control the temperature setting of any window air conditioner. Customers can remotely turn on and off their A/C from any smart phone or browser, and set the temperature. In addition, users can preset schedules through any web browser, so that their window air conditioners only turn on when needed, transforming the stand-alone window air conditioner into a smart, networked device that gives users enhanced convenience and control. Customers who participate in the program will also be alerted when a peak usage event is called, and ConEd will adjust the unit’s temperature. ConEd estimates that there are over six million window air conditioner units in its service area, which represents approximately 7000 MW of load.

Click for more details on Con Edison CoolNYC program


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