Util-Assist Celebrates Their Supporting Role in PUC Distribution’s Award Winning Sault Smart Grid Project

May 7, 2024

Sault Ste. Marie’s PUC Distribution Inc. (PUC) received the prestigious Innovation Excellence Award during this year’s Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) Awards Ceremony in Toronto. The award recognized PUC’s groundbreaking Sault Smart Grid project as the first community-wide smart grid system in Canada. The Sault Smart Grid integrates various cutting-edge smart grid capabilities, including distribution automation, dynamic voltage regulation, and optimization of the existing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), creating a grid that is ready for the future along with meeting new and growing demand for reliable and high-quality power.

Util-Assist played a supporting role in PUC’s success through the provision of expert project guidance and oversight, with primary support focused on AMI-related tasks, dynamic voltage regulation (DVR) voltage polling, and outage management system (OMS)/AMI integration and configuration. Util-Assist also assisted in streamlining business processes and providing training and support to PUC and its vendors.

Key components of Util-Assist’s project involvement include:
  • Upgrading PUC’s Survalent SCADA System to an Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) integrated with PUC’s GIS System
  • Supporting the implementation of Fault Location, Isolation and System Restoral (FLISR) schemes to detect and address faults automatically
  • Deploying a DVR system that leverages voltage information from PUC’s AMI system to optimize voltage levels and reduce energy end-use consumption and associated costs
  • Introducing a new OMS integrated with PUC’s Sensus AMI system for improved outage detection, response and reporting

Since its launch in November 2023, the Sault Smart Grid has demonstrated multiple positive benefits, including a 2.7% energy savings, enhanced outage communications, and increased reliability for customers. Further, the project is contributing to an annual reduction of approximately 2,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

“Congratulations to PUC on this remarkable achievement in pioneering a truly groundbreaking community smart grid project. It’s been an honour to contribute to what will undoubtedly be a significant legacy for the city,” said Mark Henderson, President of Util-Assist.



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