At a time when smart meter deployments are slowing and some utilities are taking a more targeted approach, DP&L's proposal is ambitious and calls for all of its customers to have advanced metering infrastructure in place.
While the near-term system improvements will be significant, the utility stressed in its application that extensive grid modernization is essential for achieving the state's longer-term energy vision of the distribution grid as an open-access platform.
Ohio regulators' PowerForward roadmap calls for a burst in innovation that will improve service to all customers, while keeping costs down and maintaining the delivery of safe and reliable power. DP&L told PUCO that it plans to create a self-healing grid that will automatically isolate problems and reroute power so customers may not even notice an interruption.
"Enabling infrastructure and technologies lead to the development of the grid as a platform with secure open access for relevant parties," DP&L said in its filing with state regulators. "As this foundation is put in place, it naturally enables enhancement of customer choices on the application side, allowing customers to engage as they desire."
In the near-term, DP&L sees a half-dozen major customer benefits to its proposal, including:
Over the long term, however, the utility said customers can expect further benefits.
"Some items to deliver the company's vision were identified as relatively nascent, and/or further out with respect to implementation timing," Lisa Krueger, president of the AES business unit responsible for U.S. utilities, said in testimony filed with the commission.
For those solutions, Krueger said, DP&L plans to "let them further develop while the company implements more foundational solutions."
Those further-out solutions could include localized asset enhancement, scaling up distributed energy resource management systems, dynamic pricing tools and advanced analytics.
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