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PUC approves first phase of electric grid modernization plan

The Hawaiian Electric companies will invest in advanced meters and other grid modernization efforts under a plan approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.

The first phase of the modernization plan will cost the utilities $86.3 million throughout four years, and would impact the average Hawaii Island residential ratepayer by an estimated 55 cents per month.

According to the PUC, which approved the first phase of the modernization plan Monday, Hawaiian Electric will invest in three main technologies: advanced meters, a meter data management system and a telecommunications network.

The new meters could allow the utilities to implement demand response or different rates for peak and nonpeak hours.

In a press release, Hawaiian Electric said the plan will help expand private rooftop solar and make use of storage devices.

The company called it a “foundational step in transforming a grid built for the one-way flow of electricity into a dynamic, high-technology platform providing real-time data on the two-way stream of power shifting back and forth between customers and the grid.”

The meter management system would collect and store data received from the advanced meters. That can allow users to monitor their energy use.

The telecommunications network would provide a communication path for the advanced meters and field devices for sensing, control and automation. Additionally, the plan would allow for a more efficient and resilient grid, the company said.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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