TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

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Mar 22 2012

Modernizing the Grid: Getting More out of America’s Energy

As modernization of the nation’s electric grid moves forward, consumers and businesses are experiencing fewer outages, faster power restoration when outages do occur, more efficient operations, and cost savings.  Here are some of the latest examples of how Smart Grid Investment Grants from the Energy Department are helping the electric grid to better serve the American people.

  • Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E) faces intense challenges from severe weather and an annual growth in electricity load of about 2 percent. Last month, it revealed preliminary results of its two-year demand response study showing a 48 percent reduction in electricity demand from customers with “smart” thermostats during peak periods. (Based on a notice received through the customer’s smart meter, the thermostat automatically reduces load by increasing the set temperature of the customer’s air conditioner so that it comes on less frequently during a peak period.) “These results clearly demonstrate that smart technology, coupled with dynamic pricing, enables customers to reduce their maximum peak energy use, which will help delay our need for building incremental generation until at least 2020,” said Ken Grant, managing director of customer solutions at OG&E. The company now plans to expand its Smart Hours program to an additional 40,000 residential and business customers.   OG&E’s Smart Hours program helps consumers better manage their energy use by sending them advanced notice via phone, text or email about the next day’s peak price.
  • Idaho Power Company (IPC) is improving customer service, saving energy, and reducing operating costs with a comprehensive smart grid deployment that includes installing nearly 500,000 smart meters in customers’ homes and businesses across western and southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. Before the installation, IPC collected 6 million meter reads per year. IPC now collects 13 million meter reads per day. Besides now having more timely, accurate customer usage data, IPC has been able to eliminate 80 service vehicles and saved on fuel and maintenance costs because employees are no longer driving 1.6 million miles per year to read meters.  IPC’s customers will see additional benefits as IPC also develops a modeling and forecasting tool for integrating renewables into the transmission system, and implements irrigation load control for agricultural customers.
  • In Tennessee, the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga believes that it is on track to save local businesses and homeowners an estimated $40 million a year by reducing the duration of power outages. Studies from Berkeley Labs, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and others indicate that the impact of power outages on an area the size of Chattanooga can total more than $100 million per year. Chattanooga aims to cut that amount by 40 percent. Last September, following a storm that knocked out power to 59,000 homes and businesses, EPB determined that its smart grid technologies had prevented an additional 25,000 customers from either losing power completely (16,000 out of the 25,000 customers) or seeing any significant impact (9,000 customers experienced only a momentary interruption in power). Earlier in the year, EPB was able to restore power more quickly in the aftermath of the April 2011 storm that devastated the area. Companies new to the area have been citing the reliable electricity as a major factor in choosing Chattanooga as their destination for doing business.  Smart grid technologies help reduce power outages by remotely detecting customer outages, isolating  damaged sections of power lines and restoring power to customers more quickly.
  • Since June, the number of smart meters installed at homes and businesses has doubled to 10 million meters nationwide. The goal is to install an additional 5.5 million by 2015.

As the grid continues getting smarter, we must continue to ensure that it is protected against cyber attacks and develop resilient systems that can survive a cyber event with no loss of critical functions. For the SGIG program, all grant recipients were required to conduct a risk assessment and develop and implement cyber security plans to mitigate the risks. All 99 cyber security plans approved by the Energy Department addressed the Department’s requirements.

For years, the Energy Department has worked closely with private industry, federal partners, including the Department of Homeland Security, and other stakeholders on a number of cyber security fronts. The most recent example of this work – the cyber security maturity model initiative which will develop a tool that helps electric utilities assess their own cyber strengths and weaknesses and prioritize investments – is moving forward quickly. We will continue capitalizing on that momentum in the coming months.

http://energy.gov/articles/modernizing-grid-getting-more-out-america-s-energy-0

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  • "“As the Texas population continues to grow, so will our energy consumption needs. We must have tools that empower the consumer to choose their products and monitor their usage wisely. TexasIsHot.org is a great resource, which is exactly what Texans need in today’s deregulated market.”" - State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), Chairman of House State Affairs Committee
  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
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