AMI Smart Grid
Clearwater Power Company (CPC) participated in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) smart grid investment grant award through PNGC Power. PNGC and 10 of its electric utility cooperative members agreed to implement a smart grid system.
Clearwater Power Company’s share of the project is valued at $3.78 million, which includes the installation of 11,018 smart meters and other equipment and has enhanced operations and increased efficiencies.
The project spans from 2010 to 2015. The first phase characterized by equipment installation and have capability to both send and receive data over the power lines very quickly. This two-way communication can be used to operate a variety of secondary equipment. For example, the meters can feed data to optional in-home displays that members will be able to purchase to display information about their current energy use on easy-to-read display screens in their homes. These meters also have the capability to operate load-management equipment if such programs become advantageous for CPC and its members in the future.
The new AMI meters allow increased billing accuracy, because the system will provide for fully-automated, daily meter readings on all meters. The AMI meters also give CPC the ability to provide members with more information such as power consumption patterns, outage and blink-count history, and voltage information to help solve high-bill or power-quality concerns.
Meter installations began in early 2011 and were completed later that year, ahead of schedule and under budget.
The PNGC Power – U.S. DOE grant is a part of $3.4 billion in grant awards made available by the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, or “Stimulus Package,” that became law in 2009. Federal funding will be matched by industry funding. This selection puts Clearwater Power Company among the top companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners nationwide who have been selected by the U.S. DOE to receive similar smart grid investment grants.