New Smart Meter Introduced to Reduce the Stress on Electrical Power Grids

The prototype for an energy lab which will reduce the demand on the electrical supply grid during peak times was recently demonstrated by its creator, Dr. Bill Carswell, in a laboratory at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Dr. Carswell explained how extreme temperatures in either direction can create a drain on the power grid. During cold winter days, energy user’s crank up the heat and during excessively cold spells, power outages can occur because of the demand. Likewise, oppressively hot summer days cause user’s to run air conditioning at full tilt, resulting in similar outages.

Carswell explained the need to scale technology to allow less stress on the grid during peak times. “Our studies show that, in our lab, the cost savings paid for the investment in batteries and other equipment in only 3 ½ years,” said Carswell. “We believe a 3 ½-year return on investment is good in just about any business,” he added.

The Charger Energy Lab, created by Carswell, will use a smart electric meter which will be monitored via a computer. The system will automatically switch the building’s power from the electrical grid to a battery pack to ease the stress on the grid during peak times.

Carswell said that the more businesses and residents who utilize this new technology, the better. He added that it could also be a money saver because utility companies charge additional fees to customers to purchase equipment needed to safeguard the grid from collapsing during high demand. Customers who use smart meters would not have to pay the peak demand fee charged by the utility companies.

According to Carswell, Huntsville Utilities is field-testing a version of the Charger Energy Lab called the Advanced Metering Infrastructure which he hopes will soon be available to utility customers in the area.