The Aloha State will be getting a smart grid under a new contract announced today between Hawaiian Electric and Sensus Metering Systems. Sensus said that Hawaiian Electric, which provides electricity for 95 percent of Hawaii’s residents, plans to install Sensus FlexNet smart meters for 430,000 residential and commercial electric customers, subject to approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Sensus did not disclose the financial terms of the 15-year agreement.
Hawaiian Electric, part of Honolulu’s Hawaiian Electric Industries, first teamed up with Raleigh, N.C.-based Sensus back in October 2006. After a successful trial involving 500 smart meters on Ohau, Hawaiian Electric upped the ante to 3,000 meters in early 2007.
The technology provides automated meter reading, data collection, voltage monitoring, notification of outages and remote control of customer loads. But that doesn’t mean the utility will be controlling your fridge — these smart meters are for communications between the meter and the utility, not for talking to any smart devices you might have in your home.
The remote control feature usually comes into play with large business customers or electricity-generating plants, allowing the utility to temporarily shut off or lower electric loads to help reduce excessive demand, or to turn on generators to help relieve the demand. It could also be set up to increase or lower electricity use in response to changes in market prices.
Under today’s deal, the new meters are expected to be installed between 2009 and 2015, with 19 tower sites throughout Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island to provide two-way radio network coverage for the system.
Last month, computer giant IBM announced some moves in the smart grid market, making deals with utilities American Electric Power and Consumers Energy to deploy and test smart grid technology. And in October, Landis+Gyr said it would provide a major portion of the 5 million smart meters set to roll out under PG&E‘s four-year, $1.7 billion SmartMeter program.