Verizon Plugs In Current for Smart Grid Service
The communications service would cover the distribution network for smart grids, adding the intelligence to make the power grid more efficient to reduce power consumption, while providing better customer service and proactive diagnosis of potential problems. The integrated service runs on Verizon’s IP and wireless networks, using Current Group’s OpenGrid utility element management system.
“Current lets [the] utility look at information about how its power grid is performing and make timing decisions,” said Bob Heffron, utility market manager for Verizon Business. “We provide the communications capability and enable those decisions to be enacted.”
Typically, Heffron said, some power is lost within the distribution grid, due to the performance of individual elements within the grid. The new integrated service will enable utilities to be more aware of where energy is being lost and reduce that loss, saving money in the process. The service also helps a utility proactively identify elements that may need replacement or repair, in advance of a power failure.
In the case of an outage a utility can “be more specific as to where I dispatch a crew so I can fix it much faster," Heffron said.
The service does not address smart meters in the home, but could “synch up” with a smart meter solution, if a utility is operating one, he added.
Smart grids are under widespread consideration because they can reduce the amount of electricity consumed and improve the quality of what is delivered to consumers, while saving utility companies money by reducing what they have to buy in terms of wholesale power. By offering a managed service, Verizon opens up a new source of revenue while potentially precluding utilities from building their own communications networks.
Verizon can also provide managed security services for the power grid and can host the smart grid application within its data centers, Heffron said.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading