BPA Utility Distribution Opportunities

The New Opportunities in the Utility Distribution Sector Guide  is a new resource designed to help utilities learn more about available system improvement opportunities. 

Efficiency-Improvement Measures and Requirements

BPA offers several distribution-level efficiency-improvement measures through the Energy Smart Utility Efficiency program. The requirements of voltage optimization and system improvements are discussed below:

Voltage Optimization

BPA developed the Simplified voltage optimization measurement and verification protocol to assist utilities with implementing voltage optimization projects. Utilities have the option to use a custom measurement and verification plan or the simplified protocol. The simplified protocol requires analytics from load-flow studies, and also:
  • Is based on Regional Technical Forum guidelines.
  • Focuses on residential and small commercial end-use loads.
  • Requires that specific system stability thresholds be met prior to lowering service voltage.

System Improvements

System improvements may include the following measures:
  • Power transformer replacement.
  • Service conductor replacement.
  • Higher distribution primary voltage, including insulator additions and replacement.
  • Transformer load management (replacement of improperly sized transformers or loss improvements).
  • Balancing loads and phases.
  • Adding parallel feeders.
  • Operation improvement (recognition and phase balancing).
  • Power factor improvement to reduce line losses.
  • Volt-amperes-reactive (reactive power) management.
  • Fixed and switched capacitors.
  • Service distribution transformer:
    • Replacing an existing or proposed transformer with a higher-efficiency transformer.
    • Multiple transformers versus a single transformer, based on system analysis.
    • Voltage management.
Customers must submit voltage optimization and system improvements as custom projects. They may combine system improvements and voltage optimization into one custom project when it increases the amount of voltage that can be reduced, or improves the monitoring of reduced voltage.