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Austin Energy Launches Smart Grid Deployments

Texas utility Austin Energy is initiating the first phase of its smart grid deployment using GE Energy's smart grid software. The project is one of the first of its kind in the nation. The software will improve Austin Energy's ability to prevent outages and quickly restore power if outages do occur, the utility said.

"Unlike many utilities that lead their smart grid initiatives with smart meters, Austin Energy is leading with innovative software solutions that make products, like smart meters, even more impactful," said Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE Energy's transmission and distribution business. "While the smart meter is one of the most tangible smart grid components, the capabilities of the smart meter are enhanced greatly by the addition of other smart grid technologies."

Austin Energy has integrated GE Energy's distribution management system technology into its existing outage management system. These applications will work in combination with the geospatial information system-essentially, a GPS for the grid-to help notify the utility when a portion of the grid goes down (or is in danger of doing so), thus maximizing power reliability.

The smart grid is a banner for many products, including hardware, like smart meters and capacitors, and software, like geospatial information systems and demand response technologies. The smart grid is not "one" product, but a suite of products and software technologies that improve the grid's overall performance.

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