Energy automation systems

What if a smart grid could be built end-to-end, or piece-by-piece?

Reading a utility meter isn’t a difficult task. But if you're a public power company with tens of thousands of customers to service, simple site visits quickly become an incredible challenge—both financially and operationally.

Nearly two decades ago, utility providers began using radio frequency (RF) transmitters to enable mobile “drive by” or “walk by” meter readings. Over time, these RF transmitters became part of a robust two-way and increasingly autonomous “smart grid” utility network. Along with these advances comes a new challenge: how do you get the most value and capability out of your network?

Today, Eaton’s energy automation solutions are helping public power utilities see end-to-end benefits that were never before possible. From smart metering to demand response to substation automation, Eaton innovations are helping to make the electric grid smarter than ever.

Video: Eaton solutions for the utility industry. From generation to transmission, distribution and point of use, Eaton helps you power the world.

Tackling peak demand and RF latency.

One of the biggest challenges utility companies face is managing the system peak demand. Public power companies typically don’t generate their own electricity; they buy energy contracts and resell the load. These contracts—in fact, their entire distribution system—are sized based on peak demand—peaks that only occur maybe 1-3% of the year, so huge costs are incurred.

To offset these peaks, new demand response technology can help calibrate energy usage on a daily, monthly, seasonal and yearly basis. So, utilities can work with customers to ensure that things like air conditioner compressors or water heaters don’t all cycle at the same time, reducing the overall demand on the system. They also work with large customers to leverage onsite peak backup generators to reduce the load. Combining these types of efforts across the municipality allows utilities to increase efficiencies and pass the savings on to their customers.

Historically, Automatic Meter Reading and Advanced Meter Reading ( AMR/AMI) systems collect data and only periodically send it back to utility. So inherent latency, or lag, is built into the system. Demand response, distribution automation and other smart grid applications require a more real-time awareness of what’s going on. Today, Eaton engineers are making it possible to move from daily and hourly data retrieval to real time data streaming, and opening up a world of efficiencies along with it.

Making smart grids modular, flexible and scalable.

Eaton’s smart grid network starts with Yukon enterprise software system, a utility-hardened application that can manage the power company’s data and decision making. Using wired or wireless networks, communications travel through an IP gateway and out into the RF mesh network. Across the service area, RF-enabled sensors, meters, load control devices and DNP devices work together to maximize operational efficiency.

Building a smart grid is no small task. That’s why Eaton built an incredibly flexible, modular solution to help utility providers accelerate both implementation and return on investment in smart grid technologies.

Eaton’s “network first” approach helps municipal power companies install an RF canopy of gateways and relays to cover their entire municipality, then target specific applications like demand response or distribution automation to improve operational or energy efficiencies. Then, new meters and other intelligent devices can be connected to the network as a more robust and complete smart grid is built out over time. This approach reduces up-front costs, guarantees a return on investment and creates a platform for future growth.

The Yukon system is flexible and modular. Customers can start with the advanced metering application and then add distribution automation, demand response or substation automation applications over time. Without having to worry about integration or spiraling complexity.

Energizing your business.

Today, Eaton end-to-end solutions are helping public power companies tackle operational cost, find efficiencies and add new intelligence across their entire utility network—with safety, security, and reliability built in at every point along the way.

Learn more about Eaton’s energy automation solutions and see how Eaton innovation is energizing customers’ businessacross industries and around the world.

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