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July 20, 2011

Victoria Electric Coop in Texas Uses Trilliant and HD Supply Utilities for Smart Grid Pilot



Orlando, Florida-based HD Supply Utilities, North America's largest electric utilities distributor, and Redwood City, California-based Trilliant (News - Alert), a Smart Grid communications provider, have partnered to deploy a Smart Grid communications pilot program on behalf of Victoria Electric Cooperative, in Victoria, Texas.  

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Victoria Electric Cooperative covers a 1,800-square-mile service territory in southeastern Texas; and serves six counties with approximately 19,500 residential, and 540 commercial and industrial customers. The City of Victoria is known as "The Crossroads" because it is located within a two-hour drive of Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

Victoria Electric's pilot program will be a 90-day test to designated locations in its service area. A successful implementation could mean a full rollout to the entire service territory. Initial goals are to:

  • Improve operational efficiency,
  • Provide interval data for Critical Peak Pricing (CPP) and Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, and
  • Enhance outage detection.

The pilot program includes a deployment of Trilliant's multi-tier SecureMesh Smart Grid solution to deliver advanced utility services. The SecureMesh wide area network provides a long-range, high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless mesh network capable of covering hundreds of square miles of the distribution grid. Each network provides up to 54 Mbps (megabytes per second) of seamless connectivity to grid devices as well as backhaul traffic from AMI collectors to enable secure private networking for advanced metering.

By connecting grid devices such as substations, voltage regulators, line switches, capacitor banks, and transformers, the SecureMesh WAN enables applications such as substation automation, distribution automation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and workforce mobility.

"We felt strongly that the combination of HD Supply Utilities' installation services and Trilliant's multi-tiered SecureMesh technology would provide Victoria Electric Coop with a robust, high-speed, low- latency communications network that will serve as our Smart Grid foundation and meet AMI objectives," according to Blaine Warzecha, General Manager at Victoria Electric Cooperative.  "Equally significant is the fact that we are implementing a solution that can grow to meet our future needs."

A key component in HD Supply Utilities' GridAdvance integrated, end-to-end Smart Grid solution, Trilliant's SecureMesh multi-tier architecture enables the two-way flow of data to integrate the utility's head-end systems with distribution, smart metering, and home devices. These sections of the grid correspond to communication tiers: a Wide Area Network (WAN) tier, which connects distribution devices and aggregates the Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) tier, which connects meters and aggregates the Home Area Network (HAN) tier, which connects in-home devices.

"The overriding benefits of Smart Grid communication networks, combined with the trend toward TOU rates and CPP solutions, are setting the stage for the implementations such as the one at Victoria -- implementations that require a multi-tier architecture requiring advanced WAN, HAN, and NAN capabilities," said Andy White, CEO at Trilliant. "We're proud to be involved in those efforts at Victoria Electric through our relationship with HD Supply Utilities."

"It's clear to us that rural electric coops are looking for an advanced Smart Grid solution that can grow as their utility initiatives evolve," said Geff Smith, vice president, Automation, HD Supply Utilities. "Trilliant's multi-tier architecture approach to Smart Grid networks made the difference at Victoria Electric and we are looking forward to seeing their customers benefit from this solution."

For more information, visit the Trilliant website.


Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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