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Voltage Conservation Reduction - Potential Beyond Pushing Efficiencies on Feeders

March 26, 2012


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...conservation voltage reduction (CVR)* - the processes whereby utilities fine-tune pieces of the distribution grid to put the optimal voltage to work at given end points. Smart metering has quietly bolstered - if not enabled outright - many utilities' CVR efforts.

That "quiet" is part of the problem, said Entergy's Paul Olivier during Elster's 2012 EnergyAxis User Conference, held last week in Pinehurst, N.C. Utilities that are engaged in CVR but are not touting its benefits are selling themselves short.

"It's an opportunity you can miss if you don't educate your customers," he said, explaining that CVR is akin to "painless energy efficiency," in that it requires absolutely no sacrifice or involvement on the consumer's part.

Several utilities' CVR initiatives have yielded immediate, demonstrable improvements in a distribution grid's voltage profile, with readings at meters routinely on the low end of ANSI limits (approx. 114 V). In this situation, most devices in consumers' homes and businesses consume less electricity, equating to lower electricity bills.

*Elster refers to this key benefit of the Smart Grid as Voltage Conservation, rather than CVR but the terms are synonymous