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Georgia revitalizes electric grid through new service

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The city of Norcross, Georgia, has announced it plans to utilize a new smart grid service from General Electric to give its aging electrical infrastructure a much needed boost and deploy the newest technology that will increase the city's energy efficiency, according to Government Technology.

On November 7, the Norcross City Council approved the three-way partnership between Norcross, GE Energy and Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG), a company that provides technical services to Georgia's utilities. By utilizing the new technology, Norcross will be able to respond to power outages in a more timely manner and provide automated services for meter reading and billing systems.

GE's Grid IQ was designed to help municipalities that operate their own utilities better integrate into the smart grid. The new system will provide the community's utilities with access to the newest power management tools and devices, which will be installed onto existing infrastructure and improve the city's services.

Rudolph Smith, Norcross City Manager, stated the improved system will help utilities identify where power outages are rooted, enabling them to conduct repairs faster.

"We normally have to physically troubleshoot in the city to see if a limb or something had fallen on a wire, but now this tells us exactly where the location is from the office so you can go directly to it and get service back on," Smith explained.

According to the Norcross Patch, the vote to install the new system came unanimously five-to-zero on Monday, November 14, marking the first use of the new grid anywhere in the state.

"The City of Norcross is proud to take this first step towards providing citizens more efficient, reliable and sustainable electricity," said Mayor Bucky Johnson.

Estimates of up-front costs were expected to not exceed $30,180 in the first year of deployment, which is said to take place by the end of 2012. By year two, costs are not expected to exceed $26,700.

As utilities across the country endeavor to improve grid operations and utilize remotely operated devices, guidance from smart grid experts, such as SUBNET Solutions Inc., will be an integral aspect of smart grid integration.

The solutions provider helps utilities adapt to the smart grid by offering advice, training and software on how to efficiently and securely operate substation automation devices, such as the equipment being installed on electric infrastructure across Norcross.  

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