Jan. 24, 2011: Avista and its project partners, including Battelle, updated Pullman community leaders on the Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project today and outlined project plans for 2011.
While the first year of the five-year project focused on updating and automating Pullman’s distribution system, the second year will primarily involve the installation of Itron advanced meters in the city of Pullman, Wash. and the community of Albion, Wash. Approximately 13,000 electric and 5,000 natural gas customers will have their meters upgraded to the new, digital meters, with some customers receiving both electric and natural gas meters. The new meters will be installed over several months beginning in March, 2011.
Advanced meters operate via a secure wireless network, allowing two-way, real-time communication between the customers’ meter and Avista, so Avista can provide information to customers about their ongoing energy usage through a secure website. Later this year, customers with advanced meters should be able to log into their Avista Utilities account and access additional enhanced web tools to monitor their energy usage throughout the month so they can make more informed decisions about their energy use.
“The most important aspects of the Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration project are the advantages it can potentially create for our customers,” said Heather Cummins, Avista’s director of process improvement, who leads Avista’s smart grid programs.
The advanced meters have the ability to automatically detect and report an outage at a customer’s home or business. The meters are part of an automated distribution system that reduces outage frequency and duration for all customers.
“Having outage information available almost instantly can help our crews to more quickly and efficiently restore power to our customers,” said Dan Johnson, Avista’s Project Manager for the Pullman project.
Avista will notify customers who will be receiving the new meters with a letter over the next few weeks, and will continue to update customers with information about the demonstration project and technology throughout the project. Customers can also find information online at avistautilities.com.
The Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project is part of the Pacific Northwest Grid Demonstration Project, led by Battelle, to demonstrate smart grid technologies using matching stimulus monies from the U.S. Department of Energy. Avista is leading the five-year Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project, and will contribute $14.9 million with its local partners contributing an additional $4 million to create a smart grid in Pullman.
“We envision the smart grid to be a more efficient and effective electricity infrastructure that can help contain costs, reduce emissions, incorporate renewable energy, increase power grid reliability and provide greater flexibility for consumers,” Cummins said. “Over the long-term, it could modernize our traditional, one-way power delivery system to an automated, two-way exchange of information and multi-directional power flow.”
Cost-share partners for the Pullman Project are Itron, Washington State University, Hewlett Packard and Spirae. Other partners include vendors and contractors such as Scope and Efacec Advanced Control Systems, who will provide product and services including equipment and installation. Many of the project’s smart grid devices incorporate relay devices produced by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc., which remains a supportive contributor to the overall success of the SGDP project.
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides electric service to 357,000 customers and natural gas to 316,000 customers. Our service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million. Avista’s primary, non-regulated subsidiary is Advantage IQ. Our stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.” For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the news release and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010.
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