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The Leesburg Smart Grid: Furthering the Success: A Consumer-Centric Vision

Kalv realized that the shared demand charge savings could be expanded to include residential customers and that the savings would pay for smart meters, which are needed to verify the demand reduction during the FMPA peak demand period. Seeking ways to increase savings and eliminate waste, Leesburg pursued a $19.5 million Smart Grid Investment Grant and was awarded a 50 percent grant of $9.7 million from the Department of Energy to develop a smarter grid, including Home Area Network energy management initiatives, numerous AMI technology elements, Distribution Automation elements to improve the reliability and resiliency of the distribution grid, and Cyber Security. With this funding, the city will strive to make its electric utility more efficient and dependable while helping customers to lower their energy demands and power bills.

For the improvements, the city plans to provide its 23,000 customers with high-tech electricity meters that will allow them to participate in the demand reduction shared savings program, as well as analyze and eventually scale back usage. Kalv and his team recently selected their top-ranked “AMI and Related Technologies” vendor based on an evaluation of the proposals submitted, as well as a three-day, scripted, onsite demonstration of the proposed AMI technology’s capabilities by each of the four shortlisted proposal vendors. The project will ultimately allow customers to adjust the times they use high-load appliances by giving them real-time data to control their electric costs throughout the month rather than waiting until the utility bill arrives in the mail.

Leesburg also will install close to 4,000 energy management systems that allow customers to program when they operate
their electrical appliances such as air conditioners and water heaters. The hope is to reduce overall power use and to operate appliances mostly during off-peak hours.

Many utilities have one basic rate to charge residential customers for electric use. The new smart grid improvements will allow Leesburg to develop different billing rates for on- and off-peak electricity usage, which would reward customers with lower bills when they switch from peak usage hours and reduce the cost of buying power from big energy plants.

The city’s proposed smart grid upgrade will also make Leesburg’s electric grid more reliable overall, allowing for fewer power outages and the ability to quickly identify and isolate any electricity problems. The installation of home meters is scheduled for deployment before summer 2012.

With Leesburg’s already successful demand response program, coupled with the funding for future smart grid projects, Leesburg has the means and the resources to execute a revamping of their previously underperforming and customer cashdepleting electric system. With leaders such as Paul Kalv and FMPA, Leesburg serves as an example of a city that has begun paving the way for smart grid advances to empower consumers within the state of Florida, as well as the nation.

 The Leesburg Smart Grid Case Study

Rising Costs The Heart of the Problem
A Man on a Mission
The Genesis of a Solution
The A+ Results
Furthering the Success: A Consumer-Centric Vision