Licking Rural Electrification (LRE) is an electric cooperative delivering electric energy to 25,208 services in 9 counties of central Ohio. LRE owns, operates and maintains 32 miles of 69,000 volt transmission line, 19 substations, 2,270 miles of overhead and 709 miles of underground lines. The electric infrastructure includes 55,109 poles, 14,172 overhead and 3,542 padmount transformers. In 2009, 220 new services were installed on the system. Recently, the number of new services has decreased due to the economy. But we have seen some positives in that we have connected several commercial accounts over the past year.
Over 15 years ago, LRE started implementing components of the Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is basically a combination of devices, computer programs and information gathering systems that link to quickly provide updated information and status of the electrical system. The first component was the Graphical Information System (GIS), which is a mapping system that contains a complete database of all facilities in the field. The GIS system uses information from the Consumer Information System and supplies information to the Engineering Analysis System. Six years ago LRE started the implementation of a Meter Information System, which is a system that reads the meter and brings back additional information concerning the status of the electrical system. In addition to daily meter readings, the system supplies peak loading information, and momentary or extended outage information. This system gives LRE a pathway to communicate cost of power and information to the member so they can be informed of when they use power and how much it is costing them. Approximately 64 percent of the meters have been changed to Smart Grid meters. LRE will continue to implement portions of the Smart Grid as the technology develops and when it is cost effective.
A few years ago, LRE instituted policies to promote renewable sources of energy. The Net Metering Program allows members with small generating systems to easily interconnect to the electric grid and account for the power they may place back on the grid. The member is billed for the energy drawn off the grid, less the energy they place onto the grid. Presently we have two members taking advantage of this program.
The total capacity is 13.5 kW or about .016 percent of the peak power requirement of the LRE system.
LRE has several programs that are designed to save the members’ investments in existing facilities. Our pole inspection program inspects and treats poles resulting in extended facility life and less outage times. In addition, maintenance and inspections of our underground facilities have also extended the life of some of our high voltage underground cables saving money for costly replacements.
Coal supplies 86 percent of the power for the state of Ohio. Having a reliable and economic source of electric power depends on generating units powered by coal. Buckeye Power has installed additional pollution control equipment on the Cardinal Units to remove Nitrogen Oxides and Sulphur-dioxide from the exhaust gasses produced by units. This makes them some of the cleanest coal burning units in the country. If you tried to power the LRE system through different means other than coal you would need a solar array of 700 acres or 35 large wind turbines. Both of these types of resources are weather dependent and inconsistent in the Ohio area. Additional generation would be needed to supply power when these sources are not available. Several organizations are lobbying to develop a plan that meets both economic and environmental concerns. LRE will be monitoring the situation very closely and keeping our members informed as to the effects of new regulations and legislation.
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