February 19, 2013
Dominion Resources (NYSE: D ) has received a patent for technology that enables electric utilities to plan, manage, and validate voltage conservation for grid optimization.
The utility said its Dominion Voltage subsidiary received the patent for its Edge platform, which helps reduce energy usage across the distribution network. Dominion Voltage director Todd Headlee called it "a game-changer for the industry." According to the company, the Edge platform is the only one that obtains voltage data directly from "dynamically selected" meters at the end-user level and adjusts the levels delivered for optimal performance.
Industry standards permit voltage to be delivered to consumers between 114 and 126 volts. Dominion Voltage's Edge allows a utility to dial down the voltage delivered to the lower end of the range while still meeting a customer's equipment performance requirements. According to Dominion Resources, the same performance is delivered to the customer but at a savings of 3% to 5% on his or her electric bill, a favorable improvement to the 1% to 1.5% savings it says are realized through traditional voltage conservation programs.
The company claims the technology has the added benefit of generating less stress on electric and electronic equipment along with less waste heat, which is expected to lengthen the equipment's lifespan.
For electric utilities, the Edge platform is designed to enable them to save money by reducing their fuel and purchased power costs.