Power Update (August 2012)
TVA announced recently no retail rate increase this fall so electric rates are expected to remain constant. Although a mild winter caused a stress on revenues, TVA and MUS have controlled cost so that rates will not increase. TVA faces many pressures in the future as federal agencies are forcing utilities to abandon coal fired generation. This long standing asset has for centuries served the valley and the expectation is that rate increases are inevitable unless there is a position change at federal divisions in Washington.
MUS continues the Smart Grid pilot program with TVA for the purposes of proving demand response capability and Smart Grid technologies. Our application covered several areas: (1) demand reduction through voltage regulation, (2) demand reduction through internal loads such as water pumping in peak hours, (3) Smart Grid devices such as Smart Thermostats and Smart Load Control Devices for hot water which can temporarily operate to reduce loads for a limited number of hours, and (4) Advanced Metering technology that can provide customers with Time of Use Rates as an incentive to lower their cost by shifting load to Off Peak periods.
On behalf of the citizens of Morristown, MUS has now received $3 Million of the $4 Million TVA grant, this initial amount for our application of load reduction using mild voltage reductions during times of peak demand. The new technologies deployed are already providing many side benefits such as identifying system weaknesses, remote disconnects to avoid truck rolls. Over the next year MUS will transition many of our manually read metering routes to automatic remote reads.
The advanced metering infrastructure returns an amazing among of energy for our engineers and technicians to evaluate. We have a high speed two-way communication path to all customers so that all electric meters report on a 15 minute basis which provides a method to analyze system performance on an hourly based, and enables Time of Use rate structures as requested by TVA. This Smart Grid network is non-evasive to the customer; it does not intrude on privacy, nor restricts usage, nor does it determine when and where customers use electricity.
The true enabler of this Smart network is our FiberNET system. The FiberNET infrastructure is a fully passive optical network with very high speeds and network reliability. This optical network is the backbone of how electric services will be delivered and monitored in the future. FiberNET has the speed needed to allow MUS and customers to lower our costs and mitigate future cost increases.
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