Grid 21 Partners Search for Biggest Energy Saver
Technology Companies and Utilities launch campaign to spur innovation and empower customers
2011-06-13T05:00:00Z

Technology Companies and Utilities launch campaign to spur innovation and empower customers.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2011) — Grid 21, a new non-profit organization committed to engaging electricity customers in using a new generation of tools and technologies to better manage their electricity consumption, is partnering with Texas-based utilities Oncor and CenterPoint Energy, as well as San Diego Gas & Electric in California to launch the Biggest Energy Saver CampaignSM.

In addition to Oncor, CenterPoint and San Diego Gas & Electric, founding partners of the campaign are Itron and Landis+Gyr. IBM is a collaborator on the campaign. The campaign is the largest of its kind in the nation and will jumpstart the market for customer-friendly energy-management tools, while demonstrating to customers the benefits made possible by using information from smart meter technology.

The Biggest Energy Saver Campaign will feature a customer-savings contest sponsored by Grid21.  The campaign will also drive the creation and use of customer-friendly tools for managing home energy consumption. By giving customers easy ways to access and utilize the data provided by their smart meters, the Biggest Energy Saver Campaign will help customers make more educated decisions about their energy consumption controlling their energy costs.

One component of the Biggest Energy Saver Campaign is a nationwide call to create applications that will enable customers to better monitor and control their home energy usage. Software application developers will be vying for prizes totaling up to $150,000.

At the first White House Grid Modernization Event held earlier today, emphasis was stressed about bringing products and services to market to transform the way Americans use energy. More than 150 executives gathered to hear this message and address hurdles standing in the way of modernizing the electric grid, which is based largely on 1960’s technology.

In Texas, one grand prize winner from each participating utility’s service area will receive the Grand Prize of a new electric vehicle while the first-place winners will receive a suite of GE smart appliances that are equipped to talk to the smart meter and empower consumers to make smarter, more informed decisions on how they consume energy.

“There have been dozens of pilot programs involving smart meters across the United States, and consistently customers have reduced their energy usage and controlled their costs. Now the time has come to move beyond pilot programs and into full implementation because customers deserve it,” said Steve Hauser, Executive Director of Grid 21. “Customers are the most important component of any business and what electric utility customers are telling us is that they want the ability to better manage their energy consumption and cost. The Biggest Energy Saver will introduce tools and capabilities to customers who can then use them for the contest and in their daily lives.”

In May 2011, San Diego Gas & Electric completed the rollout of smart meters to all its residential customers.  Smart meters are one of the foundational technologies to the nation’s smart grid.   On June 6, the utility filed the first comprehensive smart grid roadmap that outlines the San Diego region’s energy future over the next decade.  The goal of the roadmap is to empower customers with the latest technology and service choices.

In July, a select group of San Diego Gas & Electric customers will receive in-home devices that display data provided by the home’s smart meter. The displays allow customers to track and analyze their home energy usage in real-time, making it easier to monitor their energy-related spending throughout the month – encouraging them to save energy and participate in the contest. 

“Nearly 20 million advanced meters are expected to be installed by the end of 2012 in California and Texas alone,” Hauser said. “The smart meter-enabled home is a huge market that will continue to grow not only in these two states, but across the country.”

With more than 3 million meters installed across Texas, as well as other significant grid investments to improve reliability and grow the nation-leading wind energy portfolio, Texas electric customers will be the largest group of participants in the inaugural Biggest Energy Saver Campaign.

“Texas has always been a global leader in energy and innovation,” said Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. “We have a robust competitive market and are investing billions of dollars to improve our power grid, supporting cleaner generation and improving reliability. We couldn’t be more proud to have the two largest utilities in Texas with the broadest deployment of advanced meters leading the way through this new 21st century technology.”

The contests will run later this summer. Complete contest rules and registration will be available on the Biggest Energy Saver website at www.BiggestEnergySaver.com beginning mid-July. Until then, the website will serve as an online resource for customers to engage in conversations about smart meters and how to use smart technology to cut back on their electricity consumption, controlling their cost and making a positive impact on the environment. 

***
About Grid 21
Grid 21 is a new non-profit organization, based in Washington, DC and national initiative to engage customers of electricity in using a new generation of tools and technologies to better manage their electricity consumption.  Contact:  Steve Hauser, 303-275-3122

About CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC, its electric transmission & distribution, subsidiary, as well as natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $19 billion. With over 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the company’s website at CenterPointEnergy.com.

Contact Floyd LeBlanc, 713.207.7125

About GE Appliances & Lighting
GE Appliances & Lighting spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliances, lighting, systems and services for commercial, industrial and residential use. Technology innovation and the company's ecomagination(SM) initiative enable GE Appliances & Lighting to aggressively bring to market products and solutions that help customers meet pressing environmental challenges. General Electric (NYSE: GE), imagination at work, sells products under the Monogram®, Profile™, GE®, Hotpoint®, Reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Tetra®, Vio™ and Immersion® commercial brands. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com Contact: Kimberly Freeman, 502-452-7819

About IBM
IBM is a trademark of IBM Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other company/product names and service marks may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively through The Open Group.  Contact: Fabienne Guildhary, 917-472-3733

About Itron
At Itron, we're dedicated to delivering end-to-end smart grid and smart distribution solutions to electric, gas and water utilities around the globe. Our company is the world's leading provider of smart metering, data collection and utility software systems, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide relying on our technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Our offerings include electricity, gas, water and heat meters; network communication technology; collection systems and related software applications; and professional services. To realize your smarter energy and water future, start here: www.itron.com.  Contact: Sharelynn Moore, 509-891-3524

About Landis+Gyr
Privately held Landis+Gyr is the leading global provider of integrated energy management products tailored to energy company needs and unique in its ability to deliver true end-to-end advanced metering solutions. Landis+Gyr operates in more than 30 countries across five continents, and employs over 5,000 people with the sole mission of helping the world manage energy better. For more information please visit www.landisgyr.com.  Contact: Thor Valdmanis, 212-850-5696

About Oncor
Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC “Oncor” is a regulated electricity distribution and transmission business that uses superior asset management skills to provide reliable electricity delivery to customers. Oncor operates the largest distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to approximately 3 million homes and businesses and operating approximately 118,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines in Texas. While Oncor is owned by a limited number of investors (including majority owner, Energy Future Holdings Corp.), Oncor is managed by its Board of Directors, which is comprised of a majority of independent directors. Contact:  Chris Schein, 877-426-1616

About San Diego Gas & Electric
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. Contact: April Bolduc, 877-866-2066

About Tendril
Tendril is the Energy Platform company, delivering end-to-end consumer engagement products, applications and services powered by Tendril Connect™—an open, secure and scalable platform that takes the complexity out of the Energy Internet and creates a dialogue between energy service providers and their customers. Delivering consumer engagement software, in-home products and applications as well as easy to integrate utility solutions such as Demand Response and Energy Efficiency, Tendril offers unparalleled insight into energy decisions, making the Energy Marketplace a reality. The company is venture backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Good Energies, RRE Ventures and GE. For more information, visit   www.tendrilinc.com   Contact: Sheila O’Neill, 303-324-7310

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New team of CenterPoint Energy crews arrive in Puerto Rico to support ongoing power restoration efforts

Houston – Feb. 12, 2018 – A new team of 70 CenterPoint Energy employees arrived in Puerto Rico over the weekend, joining the more than 1,500 crews from other U.S. utilities that are helping Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) restore power following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. This second team of skilled linemen replaced the initial 70 employees who have been working on the island since mid-January.

"We continue to make progress having restored power to nearly 1,500 residents in the Arecibo area since we arrived on the island," said Ed Scott, director of operations for CenterPoint Energy. "Because of the logistical and geographical challenges, this mission has been unique. Crews will often work all day to restore service to only a handful of residents. But our employees are highly skilled and dedicated to the task at hand, having replaced 152 poles and more than 1,400 spans of wire to date."

Extensive portions of Puerto Rico's electric grid are located in rugged, mountainous terrain that has little or no road access due to Hurricane Maria's impact. Some customers may not be able to receive power to their homes or businesses because of their location and damage from the storm.

"CenterPoint Energy crews continue to work hand-in-hand with other utilities to overcome these challenges. It's immensely gratifying to turn the lights on for the residents of Puerto Rico," added Scott.

In late October, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the American Public Power Association (APPA) received a request from PREPA to support power restoration efforts on the island. In early November, PREPA expanded its aid request to include the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

As a result, a team of electric company storm response experts has been on the ground coordinating closely with local officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The team has been focused on assessing damages and formalizing a structure for supporting logistics, equipment needs and supply chain issues, as well as ensuring ongoing restoration efforts are completed safely, effectively and efficiently.

CenterPoint Energy is part of electric utility mutual assistance programs that provide access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country to lend a hand during widespread power outage emergencies. Coming to the aid of other utilities is nothing new to CenterPoint Energy employees. Over the years, crews have responded and restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers throughout the country who have been left in the dark following hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

For updates, follow CenterPoint Energy on Twitter: @CNPAlerts and Facebook: Facebook.com/CenterPointEnergy.

 

CenterPoint Energy earns "Emergency Recovery Award" for restoration efforts following severe storms in Sealy, Texas

Houston – Jan. 29, 2018 – CenterPoint Energy has been presented with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI)'s "Emergency Assistance Award" for its outstanding power restoration efforts after storms hit Sealy, Texas in May 2017.

"At CenterPoint Energy, we take pride in the work we do and our commitment to serving our communities. Whenever a storm approaches, we have a plan in place and proactively respond to the emergency. Then, we work hard to restore power as quickly and safely as possible," said Ed Scott, director of operations for CenterPoint Energy.

On May 23, severe storms with winds between 80 and 100 mph hit the community of Sealy. The torrential rain, massive hail and tornado-force winds resulted in nearly 70,000 customer outages. While the storm was isolated to only 15.5 square-miles of CenterPoint Energy's 5,000 square-mile service area, the damage to the electrical infrastructure was extreme.

Working safely and efficiently, CenterPoint Energy crews replaced nine wooden transmission poles, 246 distribution poles and 356 spans of wire (See restoration photos). Crews restored service to 100 percent of customers within two days, dedicating more than 16,000 man-hours to the effort.

"The tireless work by CenterPoint Energy's crews during the Sealy Microburst exemplifies our industry's commitment to customer service," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "CenterPoint Energy's crews worked diligently to safely restore service to customers, and are very deserving of this award."

The award is presented to EEI member companies to recognize their extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI's Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting in Scottsdale.

Snow accumulation can block vents and freeze natural gas meters

Minneapolis – Jan. 24, 2018 – As Minnesotans experience the first snow and ice accumulation of the season, CenterPoint Energy would like to remind the public of important safety tips that can also help prevent service interruptions and ensure proper meter operation.  Snow and ice accumulation on or near the natural gas meter set and/or on the roof above a meter can lead to potentially dangerous conditions, including natural gas buildup in homes and businesses and service disruptions. 

Knowing how your gas meter operates and recognizing the following signs of danger can help prevent potential problems:

  • Accumulations of snow and ice on the meter set can also cause the regulator to malfunction. 
  • Regulators are designed to maintain a constant pressure, ensure safe delivery of natural gas and vent natural gas safely to the atmosphere.
  • Snow can block the regulator vent and freeze the regulator causing improper operation.
  • Thawing snow or ice dams from rooftops above the meter should be kept clear to prevent ice from encasing the meter or chunks of ice falling on the meter causing potential damage.
  • Additionally, customers should maintain a clear path of snow or debris to provide easy access to the natural gas meter.

CenterPoint Energy would also like to remind the public of important winter natural gas safety tips:

  • Do not deposit snow piles on or near the meter.
  • Do not use a snow blower or shovel near the meter or attempt to remove ice from the meter yourself. You can use a broom to keep the snow cleared around and on top of the meter and piping.
  • Call 1-800-296-9815 if there is ice on the meter or one or more of the following conditions exist:
      • Meter is located below a downspout.
      • Overhang or eave does not fully extend over the meter.
      • Meter is located below a roof valley without a gutter.
      • Meter is located below an exterior water spout

If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same. 

    • Do not start or drive your car into or near a gas leak or vapor cloud.
    • Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones), or anything that could cause a spark.
    • Once safely away from the area, call the CenterPoint Energy emergency gas leak hot line at 1-800-296-9815 and 911 to report the location and description of the leak and CenterPoint Energy will dispatch a trained service technician immediately. 

For more natural gas safety tips, visit the company's website at CenterPointEnergy.com/BeSafe.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns 54.1 percent of the common and subordinated units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit the website at CenterPointEnergy.com.

CenterPoint Energy crews depart for Puerto Rico to support ongoing power restoration efforts

Houston – Jan. 19, 2018 – This morning, CenterPoint Energy crews departed for Puerto Rico as part of a nationwide, coordinated power restoration plan involving several investor-owned electric companies. CenterPoint Energy's 70 employees will join the more than 1,500 additional restoration crew members from other utilities traveling to the island to support the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) in the next phase of its restoration process. CenterPoint Energy expects its employees and resources to be in Puerto Rico for approximately six weeks.

"We are fully committed to restoring power to Puerto Rico as quickly and as safely as possible," said Ed Scott, director of operations for CenterPoint Energy. "This restoration mission will be more difficult than any other we have worked on, but our crews are prepared to work long hours safely, facing the logistical and geographical challenges accompanying the historic damage to Puerto Rico's infrastructure."

CenterPoint Energy's equipment departed from the Port of Lake Charles in Louisiana on Jan. 3. The barge carrying the trucks and equipment arrived yesterday in the Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Once the crews land, they will be transported to the port to collect the equipment and drive the trucks to the Arecibo region, where they will be stationed. This weekend, crews will start working 16-hour shifts after a safety and onboarding process. The company is making plans to send at least one additional shift.

In late October, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the American Public Power Association (APPA) received a request from PREPA to support power restoration efforts on the island. In early November, PREPA expanded its aid request to include the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

As a result, a team of electric company storm response experts has been on the ground coordinating closely with local officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The team has been focused on assessing damages and formalizing a structure for supporting logistics, equipment needs and supply chain issues, as well as ensuring ongoing restoration efforts are completed safely, effectively and efficiently. Experts have identified basecamps for crews and staging sites for materials that will allow workers and materials to be located closer to restoration areas.

Extensive portions of Puerto Rico's electric grid are located in rugged, mountainous terrain that has little or no road access due to Hurricane Maria's impact. Some customers may not be able to receive power to their homes or businesses because of damage from the storm.

"CenterPoint Energy crews will be working hand-in-hand with other utilities to overcome these challenges and assist our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico," added Scott.

CenterPoint Energy is part of electric utility mutual assistance programs that provide access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country to lend a hand during widespread power outage emergencies. Coming to the aid of other utilities is nothing new to CenterPoint Energy employees. Over the years, crews have responded and restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers throughout the country who have been left in the dark following hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

For updates, follow CenterPoint Energy on Twitter: @CNPAlerts and Facebook: Facebook.com/CenterPointEnergy.

Natural gas service restoration in Cleveland, Texas substantially complete

Houston – Jan. 19, 2018 – Following a natural gas outage affecting more than 1,400 customers in Cleveland, Texas, CenterPoint Energy has restored service to all customers who have provided the company access to perform safety checks and relight pilots.

A small number of customers still remain without service because CenterPoint Energy employees were not able to access their home or business. The relighting process requires CenterPoint Energy employees to have access to each location to light pilots and check to make sure it is safe to resume service.

"A customer needs to call us only if there is a door hanger at their home or business indicating that we've already been by to attempt to restore service," said Gary Chalk, district director for CenterPoint Energy. "Please call the number on the door tag left by our service personnel.

"We greatly appreciate our customers' cooperation and patience as our employees worked as quickly as we could to safely restore natural gas service," said Chalk.

Customers have been without gas service because of an equipment malfunction due to extremely low temperatures.