Smart Grid

October 16, 2012

Using ProField, Southside Electric Views Smart Grid Progress 'Inside Out'

Crewe, Virginia-based Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) has licensed Apex’s (News - Alert) ProField technology to help monitor and manage progress on the replacement of electric meters throughout its service territory as part of its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)/Smart Grid program.

ProField, from Herndon, Virginia-based Apex Smart Grid Solutions, integrates GPS navigation, wireless communications and digital imagery with a mobile workforce management system to provide a solution for inventorying and managing assets outside the plant. Compared with legacy approaches and systems, ProField yields up to 50 percent higher productivity and 20 times higher data quality, according to Apex. The platform is feature-rich, customizable and user-friendly. Its open architecture facilitates integration with existing systems.

SEC (News - Alert) is using its own staff to perform the installation work, which began in July and is scheduled to reach completion in 2015. Back at the utility’s Project Management Office, ProField serves as the “backbone”— ensuring proper inventory control, scheduling, data collection, quality control and data integration with SEC’s customer information and billing systems.

“ProField brings value to our Smart Grid deployment by providing tools that allow SEC to manage the project at a reasonable cost-per-installed endpoint. The bottom line: ProField is helping SEC fulfill its commitment to its members – providing quality electric service at the lowest possible price,” concluded Jim La Velle, senior programmer analyst at SEC, adding, “Apex has been very responsive in providing the equipment, training and customer support for our project.”

In related news, in September, Apex won a contract to supply the necessary services, ProField software, and facilities for the installation of nearly 50,000 smart electric meters across the island of Guam in the Pacific. As the next stage in Guam Power Authority’s Smart Grid initiative, the new metering system will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of overall energy usage and operations on the island.

With $16.6 million in U.S. federal matched funding through a Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG), Guam Power Authority’s Smart Grid Initiative involves a territory-wide deployment of advanced metering infrastructure and implementation of distribution and substation automation equipment, which includes circuit switches, capacitors, voltage regulators, fault indicators, smart relays and equipment sensors. Customers can install devices that assist in managing electricity usage and costs, including in-home displays and home area networks. The new AMI and distribution automation technologies are intended to improve the reliability and stability of GPA’s electric system, reduce operating costs and accommodate future deployment of distributed generation.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey