What It Means for Our Customers
Smart Grid: What It Means for Our Customers
The Burns & McDonnell study anticipated benefits that may be realized from the use of increased digital data and control systems. The advanced systems offer a range of benefits for both the customer and RPU, including real-time communication, monitoring and managing power delivery to homes and businesses, and providing energy usage for reducing energy costs.
The benefits can be categorized in the following areas:
RPU Customer Benefits:
- Improved reliability and reduced service outages.
- Outage and power quality monitoring for each customer.
- Increased detail of energy usage information.
- Empowerment to reduce energy usage.
- More energy choices.
- Improved customer service.
Rochester Community Benefits:
- Reduced regional green house gas emissions.
- Improved local business climate.
- Energy support for new businesses.
RPU’s Operations & Efficiency Benefits:
- Improved voltage management and conservation.
- More efficient and effective dispatch of crews.
- Reduced maintenance expenses.
A significant portion of Smart Grid equipment and technologies is intended to enable customer choice and control over their energy usage. This includes the implementation of tools that enable customers to manage their energy consumption, along with providing incentives that encourage responsible energy management.
Smart Grid Customers:
- Have access to and regularly evaluate their energy usage profiles.
- Adjust their energy usage patterns to minimize their costs.
- Invest in energy efficient appliances.
- Participate in demand response programs and/or real-time rate structures.
- Participate in direct load control programs such as central air conditioning compressor cycling.
- Advocate energy conservation.
- Use two-way communications to share information between themselves and their utility.
Some of these Smart Grid advancements may be far in the future. Studies show that only 5 percent of utilities have a partial implementation in progress, while 79 percent will complete study-implementation within 5 years.
RPU is fortunate to have an engaged customer base that already participates in conservation and load management programs. Customers are informed about available programs and choices through the RPU web site, customer service inquiries, trade allies, advertising, and bill stuffers. However, RPU could expand the services and choices offered to customers by implementing some emerging Smart Grid technologies.