Reducing the voltage on power distribution can continue meeting consumer expectations while saving energy for both the customer and the utility, according to a recent study performed by R. W. Beck. K.C. Fagen, project manager for the Distribution Efficiency Initiative (DEI), will present how utilities can generate cost-savings for their businesses without negatively impacting service, at the NorthWest Public Power Association's Engineering and Operations Conference in Reno, Nevada.

"Delivering reduced voltage to individual consumers—while remaining within
utility bandwidth standards—results in significant cost savings for the customer and utility due to reduced meter demand for energy," says Fagen. "Our research highlights correctable inefficiencies in the distribution systems based on the 10 substations and 31 distribution feeders included."

R. W. Beck collaborated with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, RLW Analytics, Auriga, Inc., Hunt Power and 13 Pacific Northwest utilities on DEI, a two-part study that investigated the effects of power consumption in relation to the applied voltage. Using advanced software to collect and analyze individual meter data, the DEI team applied the results by performing system improvements on feeders and was able to reduce the overall voltage 3 percent and energy consumption by 2 percent.

Fagen will articulate how utilities can easily apply these findings to effect energy and cost savings for their businesses, and reduce energy, demand and reactive power requirements.

"Our study measured the reduction in load demand as a consequence of a quantifiable reduction in voltage, achievable by performing system improvements and adjusting how utilities operate voltage control at the substation," he explains. "Performing system efficiencies and operating in the lower bandwidth, thereby saving energy, is the same as adding green power, it's just more cost effective then adding generation."