Smart-meter maker Landis+Gyr has flagged an extension of its agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities under which it will provide load-management expertise to the utility.
The companies first teamed up on smart grids in 2005, when Colorado Springs Utilities deployed Landis+Gyr’s (Zug, Switzerland) Gridstream advanced metering network for communicating with electric, water and gas meters.
Colorado Springs Utilities now plans to deploy some 1,900 smart thermostats and software applications over the next four years, and the load-management program is aimed at reducing load on distribution assets during peak power consumption.
The thermostats are equipped with Gridstream communications technology, notes Landis+Gyr, and will rely on the utility’s existing smart-grid network to communicate with sophisticated load-management software.
Under the plan, software will use load information to determine the number of customer thermostats to control.
If customers opt out of a control period, software will automatically adjust to find replacement load curtailment – ensuring load-shedding requirements are met.
Landis+Gyr says that consumers who participate in the program will have access to a mobile device application to monitor thermostat settings and make decisions about participation during a peak event.
“This is a unique application of load management technology because our main objective is managing our distribution infrastructure during peak, as opposed to dealing with supply constraints,” said Angie Thoma, smart grid project manager at Colorado Springs Utilities. “The smart thermostat option provides greater flexibility and extends the value of our existing smart grid infrastructure beyond meter reading.”
“The available consumer engagement tools also play an important role in promoting the program’s success,” she added.
Landis+Gyr says the contract represents an “excellent example” of added benefits utilities are realizing from deploying advanced metering infrastructure.
“The foundation is there to address challenges like distribution infrastructure capacity in a creative and efficient way,” said Prasanna Venkatesan, Landis+Gyr’s executive vice president for the Americas.
Landis+Gyr also provides cloud services for data and software hosting to Colorado Springs Utilities, while maintaining network assets as part of a long-term services contract with the utility.
Serving more than 600,000 combined metered customers, Colorado Springs Utilities is the fourth-largest four-service utility company in the US.