Glendale is set to spend $3.1 million in order to reduce how long electricity outages last, following a unanimous City Council vote approving a contract with a utility integration company Tuesday night.
The expenditure is set to cover one of the final projects related to Glendale Water & Power’s roughly $70 million modernization project, which included replacing analog meters with digital ones and a first of its kind $20 million grant from federal stimulus funding earmarked for smart grid improvements in 2009.
Although the modernization project was supposed to conclude this past March, officials asked the Department of Energy for two extensions, due to a slow-down of work in 2012 resulting from severe budget cutbacks at City Hall. The final completion date for the utility’s massive modernization has been moved back to March 2015, said General Manager of Glendale Water & Power Steve Zurn. The Department of Energy is keeping tabs on the project because of the grant funding.
About $1.3 million will go to Utility Integration Solutions for project management and infrastructure build-out and the remainder of the $3.1 million is to pay for Glendale Water & Power labor and hardware, according to a city report.
Once that money is spent, only $1.5 million of the original project funds will be left. That money may pay for consumer products, such as digital picture frames that about 70 Glendale residents currently use to track their energy and water costs in near real-time. Utility officials are working to expand the pilot program.
The outage management system—which is supposed to reduce recovery time—will include a system of new software and devices that are supposed to collect and analyze data in real time so Glendale Water & Power workers can respond quickly and restore power. Installing all the devices throughout the Glendale Water & Power distribution system could take a decade, according to city report.