Allegheny Power is deploying Advanced Utility Infrastructure (AUI) projects that will help identify new technologies for the nation’s electricity grid.

Such projects hold the potential to move beyond technologies such as smart meters to an advanced communications and control network that links utility infrastructure with customers’ equipment and appliances. The ideal outcome will be a system that reduces peak power consumption, enables real-time pricing options, improves system efficiency and enhances service reliability.

“These projects will aid us in evaluating the mutual benefits advanced infrastructure holds for the utility and its customers,” said Paul J. Evanson, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Allegheny Power. “Potentially, customers could benefit through improved service and enhanced systems to manage their energy use and reduce costs, and the utility could benefit from better system performance.”

Allegheny’s AUI projects are:

Research Ridge Project will demonstrate how a network can link the customer’s equipment to the utility’s distribution system to optimize energy consumption at a six-building office park in Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia Super Circuit is one of nine new U.S. Department of Energy demonstration projects. The project will evaluate the integration of advanced system monitoring and control as well as distributed generation resources to improve the performance and reliability for approximately 2,300 customers in the Morgantown area.

Modern Grid is a Department of Energy-sponsored field test for isolating system faults and restoring electricity service without manual intervention.

These efforts complement Allegheny’s demand side management programs offered to large commercial and industrial customers, which are currently integrated into PJM Interconnection’s regional wholesale electricity market. The Economic Load Response Program offers financial incentives to customers who reduce their power consumption during periods of high electrical demand or prices. The Interruptible Load Resource Program pays customers if they are called to reduce electrical usage during system emergencies.

Allegheny and its technology partner, Augusta Systems, Inc, of Morgantown, W.Va., are working on engineering and design for the AUI projects, and will collaborate on evaluating the results.