International Broadband Electric Communications and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority have announced a joint Smart Grid Broadband-over-Power Lines Communications Pilot Program.

"We believe this is a tremendous leap forward to improve energy monitoring and to test Smart Grid technology and devices, utilizing an open, IP-based standard communication design, in Puerto Rico and other territories and nations in the Caribbean," said Scott E. Lee, chief executive officer and president of IBEC.

IBEC and PowerNET International, another partner in the pilot program, will be jointly responsible for coordinating and managing the participation of any necessary third-party, smart grid-enabling vendors using IBEC's BPL communications network for the purpose of demonstrating alternative Smart Grid technologies during the implementation of the pilot project.

"We look forward to hearing from potential vendors in the forthcoming days," said Lee. "We would like to provide PREPA and its customers on the island the ability to review alternative Smart Grid applications during this pilot program."

PREPA was ranked number one among public power utilities in the United States in the number of customers served and in income earned, number six in megawatt-hour sales, and number seven in power generation, according to a study of 1,284 utilities in the U.S. conducted by the American Public Power Association in 2007. PREPA is a government-owned electric power generation, transmission and distribution utility company and the main provider of electric power to all residential, commercial and government entities in Puerto Rico.

"With an isolated electrical grid like ours, we need intelligent devices that can automatically adjust to changing conditions while allowing homeowners and businesses to utilize electricity as efficiently and economically as possible. We trust that this pilot project will help speed up the deployment of cost-efficient Smart Grid technologies," said Miguel A. Cordero, PREPA's executive director.

IBEC will use its Smart Grid BPL communications solutions to provide a high-speed, "always-on" communications pipeline over medium and low voltage power lines for the purpose of interconnecting and testing IP based Smart Grid energy monitoring and administrations systems. These systems may include: energy management, advanced metering infrastructure, demand response, load balancing, outage management, and theft monitoring systems among other smart grid functions.

IBEC Global, a wholly owned subsidiary of IBEC, will be responsible for the design and deployment of the BPL communications network in Puerto Rico to be used to communicate information via high-speed IP over the medium and low-voltage power lines from IP-enabled devices to be tested on the network for purposes of providing PREPA real time information regarding the assets currently deployed across the power grid.

PowerNET, working with IBEC Global, will provide project management and oversight throughout the network design and deployment of the BPL communications network. PowerNET develops and markets BPL technology and related Smart Grid solutions throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.