CMLP completes successful smart grid pilot during Superstorm Sandy


Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP), a municipal utility serving Concord, Massachusetts, has successfully completed a trial of Echelon's control nodes that took place during Superstorm Sandy. The pilot demonstrated transformer monitoring and power quality monitoring for both legacy and modern utilities.

The open architecture of Echelon's control nodes enabled custom hardware and software expansion to automate the collection of data from legacy non-AMI meters, extending the useful life of the meters while offering back office integration and meter data analysis. One node was placed next to a critical distribution transformer, enabling it to monitor the transformer and provide near real-time measurements of power quality data at the distribution transformer level. Turning such legacy transformers at key locations into "smart transformers" without forklift replacement offers Concord a cost-effective way to track the health of its distribution transformers.

The pilot set the foundation for CMLP's continued exploration of additional smart grid functionality such as transformer monitoring, power quality monitoring, and more.

"The [technology's] proven ability to continue to reliably operate and provide valuable information can really help our teams locate faults and minimize time to repair outages, particularly in the case of a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy. Tracking the distribution transformer in near real-time will allow us to see areas that are or aren't experiencing outages," said Mark Howell, CMLP CIO, said in a statement.

He added that, "The fact that the same platform also enables us to collect meter data from several different sources makes it an attractive choice for future smart grid deployments given the return on investment we drive."

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