Located in the heart of “Tornado Alley,” Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company’s (OG&E) electric grid faces significant challenges from severe weather, hot summers, and about 2% annual load growth. To better control costs and manage electric reliability under these conditions, OG&E is pursuing demand response strategies made possible by implementation of smart grid technologies, tools, and techniques from 2010-2012. The objective is to engage customers in lowering peak demand using smart technologies in homes and businesses and to achieve greater efficiencies on the distribution system. The immediate goal: To defer two 165 MW power plants currently planned for construction in 2015 and 2016.
Partially funded with $130 million in Recovery Act funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), OG&E is implementing a $293 million Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) project to install smart meters to all customers and automated switches, circuits, and capacitor banks to cover about 40% of the distribution lines going to homes and businesses. OG&E aims to maintain competitive rates and believes the smart grid project plays a critical role: “We are proud of the partnership we have with our customers to help keep costs lower which benefits all of us,” said Ken Grant, Managing Director of OG&E’s Smart Grid program.