There are four main components involved in making Boulder, Colo. the world’s first SmartGridCity.
Smart grid infrastructure creates the "backbone" of the entire smart system. Xcel Energy has layered digital capabilities across the grid, including two-way, high-speed communications. This has added new automation capabilities and, because the utility can now sense and predict grid conditions, it can proactively monitor the grid’s health and detect outages before they occur.
Smart meters are an essential link between your home and the smart grid. Smart meters collect your home’s electricity use data in 15-minute increments. This gives you much more visibility into your energy use compared to a traditional meter, which is only read once a month. Smart meters also act as sensors that help the utility gauge what’s happening on the system at any time. And when outages do occur, smart meters allow Xcel Energy to pinpoint specific problems and get them fixed faster.
MyAccount website provides customers with detailed information about their energy usage so they can have more choice and control over how and when they use electricity. When coupled with a smart meter, MyAccount generates an in-depth snapshot of your energy use, identifying times when your consumption is highest. The site also gives you easy access to energy efficiency information that fits your lifestyle.
In-home smart devices like wireless, two-way thermostats and smart plugs, will be available in the future to connect customer homes to the smart grid. This will allow customer systems and electrical outlets to "talk" to the MyAccount website and provide customers with advanced capabilities to monitor and adjust energy usage. We are currently in the process of evaluating in-home device technology, which will enable us to provide you with the most convenient solution.