Oklahoma smart-grid deals signed

Oklahoma's largest utility has signed agreements with four companies to provide key elements of its smart-grid programme, which will be partly funded by a $130m Department of Energy grant.

Fort Worth: Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) will use smart-grid technology to reduce costs and provide customers with more information to help them manage their energy use and save money. The utility serves more than 775,000 customers in a 78,000sq km area of Oklahoma and western Arkansas. The programme will begin in Norman, a city south of Oklahoma City. Corix Utilities, based in Vancouver, Canada, will co-ordinate the installation of General Electric smart meters for all residential customers and most businesses in Norman and elsewhere in the OG&E service area. The new meters will transmit electricity information through a wireless network to OG&E for billing and service purposes. They can also serve as communications 'gateways' with devices or appliances in customers' homes.

EnergyICT, part of the Elster Group in Luxembourg, will provide scaleable meter data management to meet OG&E's business and technical requirements. EnergyICT's server will manage all automatic metering infrastructure data and complex billing rates, and provide validation, estimation and interfaces to third-party systems.

Comverge, based in New Jersey, will provide multiple services, including marketing support to recruit 2,000-3,000 Norman customers for a time-of-use-pricing pilot programme.

Participants will receive information about the price and amount of electricity being used in almost real time. Comverge will also schedule the installation of area network devices.

California-based Global Energy Partners will be responsible for measurement and verification of results for the Norman customer study. OG&E will make future product and marketing decisions based on the customer response data.