Menu

A Resilient Grid Means a Resilient Michigan: Making the Grid Smarter

Storm season in Michigan is upon us. Of course, what season isn’t storm season in Michigan?

From tornados and high winds to thunderstorms and ice storms, weather in our state can be challenging. It’s easy to forget how important reliable energy is when it flows without interruption

Recent storms like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria underscore just how much people throughout the U.S. depend on reliable energy to stay safe, productive, and connected.

The resilience of our electric grid is a big factor in how well we are able to weather the frequent storms, so AMP is taking a deeper look at how a strong and hardy grid is paramount to keep energy reliable. Incorporating “smart” technology is one way Michigan’s local energy providers are building a more resilient grid as part of the Wolverine state’s energy future.

What a Smart Grid Means for Michigan

A smarter grid will allow local energy providers to more effectively monitor, address, and correct power issues in real-time—whether they are caused by a powerful wind storm or other issues.

After historically powerful winds tore through the state back in March, nearly a million Michiganders lost power. Later in the summer, violent thunderstorms blew through lower Michigan, wind whipping at nearly 100 miles per hour causing power outages affecting more than 150,000 people.

Not only does advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) help residents save money and conserve energy, it can be a life saver for the most vulnerable when forces beyond our control cause disruptions in our power supply.

AMP has long been a supporter of AMI, which played an integral part in restoring power for those affected during the March storms. During those storms, AMI provided outage notifications thanks to the smart meters attached to Michigan homes and businesses. These smart meters were able to connect Michiganders to operators immediately to provide real-time updates. Additionally, AMI allowed crews to respond quickly and prioritize their efforts more efficiently, restoring power to areas that were hit the hardest. Perhaps the most important example of AMI at work during these storms was the aid provided to the elderly and those with health conditions. If a meter told its provider that one of these vulnerable residents lost power, a follow up call or in-person visit was extended to ensure their safety.

How Do We Incorporate Smart Technology into Michigan’s Grid?

Local energy providers—in conjunction with state regulatory bodies—have been developing smart grid solutions for years.

Consumers Energy’s Smart Energy program and DTE Energy’s SmartCurrents program use smart meters that increase the grid’s efficiency. The Smart Circuits portion of the SmartCurrents program, for example, includes the installation of smart grid sensors and other technologies that help local energy providers monitor power lines, wires, and other equipment to help identify and assess power issues in real-time, which is critical when time is of the essence.

Continuing to make these smart technology improvements and updates to our state’s electric grid is vital. Better communication between consumers and local energy providers—and among different parts of the grid itself—not only improves efficiency, but strengthens reliability for all Michiganders.

Stay tuned for our next blog in this series where we take a deeper look at the importance of a reliable grid and what life looks like when it’s taken for granted.

Stay tuned for more in our discussion about the importance of grid resiliency. In the meantime, let us know if you have a question for us about how smart technology is helping to strengthen and secure our grid by emailing us at info@allianceformichiganpower.com.