Silver Spring Networks Delivers Actionable Voltage Data with New Application for Grid Power Monitoring

  • Posted on: 4 May 2011
  • By: chw staff

Silver Spring Networks, a leading provider of smart grid platforms, today launched a new application for proactive alerting of power quality issues. UtilityIQ® Power Monitor leverages the distributed intelligence in Silver Spring networking devices to enable utility clients to monitor power quality metrics throughout their service territory.  Silver Spring clients can use smart grid devices already deployed, combined with distributed polling, to dramatically improve vital grid efficiency applications such as Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) and Volt/VAR Optimization (VVO), achieving energy efficiency gains while improving customer satisfaction.

This new application provides Silver Spring clients with proactive notification of meter locations where voltage levels exceed or fall below expected levels.  UtilityIQ Power Monitor works with Silver Spring firmware, UtilOS®, to expand the capabilities of meters and other devices distributed throughout the grid, without requiring modification to any hardware or a field visit.  While some devices collect voltage data today, UtilityIQ Power Monitor augments these capabilities by allowing the utility to work only with the exception cases and avoid sifting through data from all meters. Furthermore, through the distributed intelligence of the Silver Spring Communications Module, UtilityIQ Power Monitor features flexible configuration options that provide utilities with complete control over the boundaries at which they receive exception notifications.  Consumers will benefit from improved quality of service through tightly maintained voltage levels and improved grid efficiency.

Silver Spring is partnering with a number of CVR and VVO application providers, expanding its robust ecosystem, to deliver the complete solution.  Silver Spring will resell Precision Power from Dominion Voltage, Inc., a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D) for CVR. Silver Spring is also partnering with Open Systems International, Inc. (OSI - to ensure interoperability of the Silver Spring Smart Energy Platform with OSI’s Distribution Management System platform for enhanced Voltage Control and Optimization. Utilities deploying CVR have been able to reduce energy waste by 2% to 3%, creating millions of dollars in savings for utilities and their customers.

“Real-time, actionable data is at the heart of the value of the smart grid,” said Raj Vaswani, CTO of Silver Spring. “Leveraging distributed intelligence already deployed in our devices to deliver this kind of critical information extends the value of our smart grid platform for our utility customers. This kind of pervasive end-of-line monitoring makes CVR a reality and greatly enhances accuracy for VVO applications.”

Leveraging the distributed intelligence in Silver Spring Communications Modules deployed in smart meters to deliver exception-based voltage reporting offers many benefits over existing options. The Silver Spring solution:

    * Requires no additional grid devices – it leverages the Silver Spring Communications Modules already deployed in the field
    * Focuses utility resources – it creates actionable, specific alarms where a problem exists
    * Delivers data much closer to real time – it immediately reports voltage alerts rather than sending them at the next scheduled meter read
    * Provides a comprehensive view of voltage levels throughout the entire service territory – it lets utilities include any set of meters to deliver voltage alerting

Solution Details and Customer Savings

The Silver Spring UtilityIQ Power Monitor application changes how utilities understand power quality metrics across their smart grid. The Silver Spring Communications Module locally polls the meter, avoiding unnecessary network traffic and utilities can configure the polling frequency. Any voltage reading above or below the utility-set threshold is immediately reported, giving grid-efficiency applications real-time information they can use to adjust voltage levels. Early testing of voltage reading with a Silver Spring utility client highlighted a number of meters with voltage levels below acceptable levels. The utility was able to quickly remedy distribution system issues the data pinpointed and improve its customers’ voltage levels.