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Privately owned power firm completes $109 million smart grid upgrade

By Donna Donnowitz
January 17, 2014

Georgia Power, an investor-owned public utility firm headquartered in Atlanta, recent completed a major, $109 million smart grid deployment, upgrading its infrastructure with smart meters, terminal servers and other key technologies to implement a self-healing network. According to PennEnergy, the project was funded in part by the Department of Energy's Smart Grid Investment Grant, and improved service across the firm's four state service area.

The upgrades focused on eliminating power outages and other problems that could interfere with or interrupt service to customers. The new grid is comprised of 73 self-healing networks, as well as 174 feeder stations. This will allow the grid to automate problem isolation and power restoration to customers, improving improving service quality and drastically cutting down on disruptions. Service reliability and improved recognition and elimination of outages has a direct impact on customer experience and appreciation.

"These enhancements to our grid and processes are allowing us to work smarter across our system and better serve all of our customers throughout the state," Leslie Sibert, vice president of distribution for Georgia Power, told the news source. "Although our customers are already seeing a positive impact on reliability and service, this project will continue to provide economic and environmental benefits for the growing state of Georgia for years to come."

A side effect of the project completion is Georgia Power's ability to put off a dire need for an additional 200 megawatts of power generation, as well as 61,000 physical trips for service calls and a reduction in nearly 4,000 tons of carbon emissions.

Optimizing smart grid deployments requires more than throwing money at the problem. In order to gain similar results as Georgia Power, utility providers have to invest in the appropriate hardware to optimize the flow of information along power lines, such as serial to Ethernet converters and upgraded cabling. This will ensure that outages and potential problems are reported swiftly and accurately, while smart meters and other end point technologies are supported.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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