GMP energy storage plan helped keep the lights on during storm

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GMP energy storage plan helped keep the lights on during storm

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 4:01pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine While winter storm Bruce packed a punch with severe winds and heavy wet snow knocking out power to more than 116,000 customers, those in GMP’s Powerwall program were able to keep the lights on through outages. There are more than 1,000 Powerwalls providing backup power in customers’ homes as part of this innovative pilot program and installations continue, with all 2000 Powerwalls fully subscribed.

GMP photo of linemen fixing power lines November 27, 2018.

The Tesla Powerwall battery acts like a generator, kicking on seamlessly during outages to power your home, but without fossil fuels. Customers can charge them off the grid with GMP’s 90-percent carbon free power, or with their own home solar array.

“The Powerwalls pumped our water, ran our lights, appliances, TV, and computers, and even powered our electric snowblower just as seamlessly as if we were connected to the grid,” said Gerry Hawkes in a thank-you email to GMP. The customer from Woodstock has solar, and says his family did not feel the outage that lasted 83 hours. Hawkes has two Powerwalls installed at his home, a common approach for customers to boost energy reserves. Each battery can provide at least eight to 12 hours of backup power on a charge.

438 Powerwalls kicked on for GMP customers in impacted areas following the November 27 storm that brought days of thick, heavy wet snow that tore down trees and powerlines. The average Powerwall use time was 13 hours. The longest was a customer who went 89 hours – which is achievable because customers with solar can recharge their Powerwalls during the day.

“This kind of technology is our energy future, happening right now. We’re so glad so many customers got the benefit of this backup power during that massive snowstorm while our crews worked tirelessly to restore power to all,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “The batteries worked just as they were supposed to – giving customers energy independence, cutting carbon output and providing them with power. We continue to see increased impacts from climate change, and will continue to find innovative ways like this to cut carbon and costs, and increase reliability for all the customers we serve.”

Customers in the pilot program pay $15 per month, or a one-time $1,500 payment, per Powerwall. Customers share access with GMP, which leverages the stored power during peak demand times on the grid when energy is being used the most, and that helps drive down costs for all customers. This partnership with customers will save all GMP customers more than $2 million over the next ten years and is already creating savings during the peak energy usage times throughout the year.

GMP installs a Tesla Powerwall in 2016.

GMP’s initial pilot program is full, with enough customers enrolled to install all 2,000 Powerwalls allowed, with many more customers interested in signing up. GMP is now building on that success and working with Tesla on a new Powerwall offering. Details about that new program will be released soon.  In the meantime, customers can join a growing list to get updates about the new program by calling 1-888-835-4672. Customers who purchase home batteries through other companies can also help reduce peak demand and earn value for sharing their stored energy with GMP and customers through the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, part of GMP’s expanding use of stored energy to cut carbon and costs for all customers.

Learn more about GMP’s Powerwall program here:

And more on the BYOD program: 

About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with them to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP was the only utility named to Fast Company’s 2018 list of Most Innovative Companies for Energy and is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. J.D. Power’s 2018 rankings also put GMP among top utilities for customer satisfaction.