A new Zpryme white paper, sponsored by Schneider Electric and based on a survey of 83 U.S. utility executives, reveals that 76 percent of utilities are planning to procure data grid analytics software and would most prefer solutions integrated into an advanced distribution management system (DMS).

The white paper, titled “2013 U.S. Grid Automation Study,” probes overall U.S. utility executive sentiment on how grid automation is being used to improve asset management utilization, power quality and system reliability. While the benefits of the smart grid continue to become realized in the U.S., the commitment by utilities to further grid automation is already being felt to help minimize outage times, improve customer service, and manage capital costs.

“Our traditional electrical network is undergoing a massive transformation and many utilities are eager to fully optimize their systems with grid automation projects, in order to fully realize the promise of the smart grid,” ” said Mark Feasel, Vice President of Smart Grid, Schneider Electric. “The long-term result of investments in grid automation will result in a significantly more reliable and efficient grid, higher utility customer satisfaction, and lower energy bills.”

“Based on the study, 76 percent of utilities are planning to procure grid analytics software, and would prefer analytics software integrated into an advanced DMS. Furthermore, seven out of ten utilities would prefer to implement an advanced DMS using a multi-vendor best-of-breed components (plus systems integration). These numbers illustrate that a large majority of U.S. utilities are ready to embrace advances in grid automation and to take up the task of building a grid that meets the needs of tomorrow’s Connected Economy,” said Jason S. Rodriguez, CEO & Director of Research, Zpryme. “Conversely, utilities will need solid support from vendors, integrators, and regulators to truly utilize all of the technologies benefits.”

Zpryme executive survey data also showed:

  • Six out of ten respondents are very or highly likely to use a major equipment vendor to provide initial system configuration services for grid automation. The main reasons cited for not using a major equipment vendor for initial system configuration were service level agreement concerns for support, desire to perform “in-house”, and relationship with existing integrator.
  • Forty-three percent of respondents described their approach to fund a distribution equipment life extension program as retro-filling existing equipment with new Breakers/Switches. Thirty-seven percent said they replace with new equipment, and 20% said they refurbish to existing equipment. Utilities cited availability of capital funding and downtime (outage) considerations as the main reasons they chose their approach for their equipment life extension program.
  • About one out of five (22%) respondents indicated that a high-penetration of (future) renewable energy is expected to cause significant problems on their distribution system.
  • Eighteen-percent of respondents indicated that a high-penetration of (future) electric vehicle (EV) charging is expected to cause significant problems on their distribution system.
  • Just over four out of ten (44%) respondents chose a commercial and industrial customer-oriented demand response program as their most preferred demand management option. Another 25% chose a grid oriented solution, like Volt-VAR or conservation voltage reduction (CVR). Eighteen percent chose a residential customer-oriented program.

About Schneider Electric

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centers & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the company’s 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 30.8 billion US dollars (24 billion euros) in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

www.schneider electric.com/us

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