Owasso Gets Smart with Energy
By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
ADVANCED MONITORING: Smart Grid Meter Project Manager Derek Lewellen pauses in front of the thousands of meters that will be installed in homes and businesses throughout Owasso this March. The city was chosen as a pilot area for new technology that will provide a variety of benefits.
KELSY LORIN TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers
With an increased interest in energy use and conservation, smart grid meters have been developed and implemented in a variety of states throughout the nation. recently decided to offer the new technology to the area through a pilot program, which will test the reaction to and benefits offered by the smart grid meters.
Owasso was selected for the pilot area for the smart grid meters. The community represents as a whole through the variety of customers. “There is an ideal ratio of homes and businesses as well as different sizes and ages of the buildings. Leaders in the city have welcomed the project with enthusiasm and have been very supportive. We are looking forward to working with everyone during the project and hope to continue to,” says Smart Grid Meter Project Manager Derek Lewellen.
Meters will be installed throughout the city limits beginning in March. The process will take an estimated three to four weeks to complete. Lewellen explains that “Letters were sent to each customer in the area and a phone call will remind them of the installation the day before. The process itself is very simple. Within 30 seconds, the new meter will be installed and in operation. In addition, there is no need for the customer to be on site during our visit.”
The Smart Grid Meters have a variety of advantages over the current meters in homes and businesses. “They are fully electronic and digital and once the meters are installed, meter readers will no longer need to enter the customer’s property every month. The meters are monitored, activated and disconnected from our offices,” he notes.
The meters will feature important tools to help customers manage energy costs and track their savings. Lewellen says, “A website will show personal meter information in near real time. Actual usage will be presented along with a forecast for the rest of the month. Instead of waiting for a bill with energy amounts, the information will be constantly obtainable.”
In addition, those who wish to volunteer for alternative rates will benefit from a small display or home energy manager. will have these displays as an option by 2012.
Meters will also be helpful features during and following severe weather, which often affects Oklahoma residents throughout the year. “Outages will be minimized and there will be a reduction in response time. Previously, outages were reported by customers. With additional technology, additional information will be sent to to help in outage restoration, “ he says.
Throughout the United States, more than 16 million meters have been installed. All involved with are looking forward to implementation of the proven technology in Oklahoma. “This is an exciting project to be involved in and we know that the reaction will be positive for everyone. It will just be a matter of time and patience to complete the pilot. Once completed and evaluated, the technology could be available to business owners and residents throughout the entire state of Oklahoma,” Lewellen concludes.
The pilot project in Owasso will cost an estimated $17.9 million. Funding was obtained through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, a low interest loan from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The company has also been collecting funds for the last two years through a slight billing rate increase. With all of the steps in place, the plan will now unfold.
For more information about Smart Grid Meters or the Public Service Company of Oklahoma, visit www.psoklahoma.com, or call 918-599-2574.
- — RobertWilliams Feb 21, 08:21 PM #