Chattanooga utility couldn't be happier with its smart grid

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By: SGN Staff

Chattanooga has had some nasty weather lately but officials from municipal utility EPB say their smart grid more than proved itself, and it's saving the city a lot of money.

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David Wade, EPB CEO and executive VP, said a heavy windstorm last week downed power lines that left 3,500 customers without power briefly, but added that the utility's smart grid prevented another 8,000 from losing electricity, according to a news report in the Chattanoogan.

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And when a tree took down a 46,000-volt line this week that serves three substations and 11,258 customers, he said the smart grid re-routed power and prevented more than 10,000 from getting their electricity cut off - and added that a dispatcher remotely repaired the problem for the other customers.

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Pre-smart grid, he said, "It would have taken quite a while to locate and fix all the 38 switches that were involved." Harold DePriest, EPB president, said estimates indicated that their smart grid saves between $50-$60 million yearly in prevented power outages and lost productivity.

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Joe Ferguson, board chairman, also had glowing words: "The investment is paying off handsomely."

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EPB's smart grid was made possible through a $111.6 million federal stimulus grant.

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