Grid20/20 helps SMUD, others stop power theft in US

Distribution transformer monitoring solutions provider Grid20/20 this morning released a statement on its ongoing collaborations with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), using the firm's OptaNode DTM and PDTM sensors to identify power theft.  The work began last year with SMUD's Revenue Assurance team.

"As we continue to introduce our OptaNode intra-grid sensor solution into domestic and international markets, it is incredibly rewarding to see our utility customers achieving substantial success," said Alan Snook, president of Grid20/20 in prepared remarks. "We have recently announced various utility success stories to the marketplace and SMUD's latest achievement is yet another that deserves recognition."

While the efforts have been "surgical" in nature, the results have been exceptional, Grid20/20 said.

"We strategically deployed a series of OptaNode devices into our grid beginning in 2015," said Dan Miller, supervisor of revenue assurance at SMUD, in prepared remarks. "Since then, we have identified and shut down $376,652.42 of power theft."

Power theft is said by some to exceed $6 billion/year in the US alone, Grid20/20 said, and is a perpetual concern for utilities. Not only are there significant costs associated with the stolen power but a series of related operations impacts that subsequently burden electricity providers.

In essence, distribution transformers are initially sized by utility operators to service the anticipated loading for the respective location, but when power theft occurs, excessive unplanned loading negatively impacts the associated transformers. This type of unauthorized power demand commonly overloads transformers beyond their rated performance levels, it added.

Often this can result in premature aging of transformers and eventual power outages. With the introduction of intra-grid sensors such as the Grid20/20 suite of devices, utilities can now effectively locate instances of power theft and help avoid the excessive costs that ultimately effect rate payers, Grid20/20 said.

Using the Grid20/20 solution, utilities can cost-effectively embrace a proactive posture and prevent unnecessary cost burdens from landing upon their valued customer's monthly billing statements. The firm provides a growing list of value propositions for power providers by effectively using transformers within the distribution grid.

The accurate, timely data captured from within the heart of the grid lets utility operators directly and immediately create operations efficiencies, reduce power outages and decrease unnecessary losses, it added.

Source :

Smart Grid Bulletin February 2019

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