Working smarter to reduce service disruptions and improve outage response time

Middle Tennessee Electric is undertaking a significant long-term infrastructure upgrade to better meet our members’ current and future needs. This improvement involves creating a ‘Smart Grid’ using the latest electric distribution technology to increase reliability and power quality while reducing and shortening outages. As we implement Smart Grid, we've started answering some frequently asked questions our members have about the technology. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The ‘grid’ refers to the electric grid – Middle Tennessee Electric’s network of transmission lines, substations, transformers, and more that deliver electricity from TVA’s power plants to your home or business.  Our current electric grid originated in the 1930s and has been improved upon as technology advanced through each decade.  

The ‘Smart Grid’ is the next generation of that technology. It’s an advanced infrastructure of electrical systems automatically interacting with each other to improve efficiency, reliability, power quality, economic and sustainability of service. 

This cutting-edge infrastructure is the convergence of telecommunications networks and electrical distribution networks. This is one of the reasons why MTE purchased a majority stake in United Communications, a leading provider of broadband services to enterprise-class businesses and residential customers in Middle Tennessee. 

Communication between the many parts of the electric grid is the key; the interconnection of a broadband network with the MTE electric grid will allow every device to work together as part of a single, comprehensive system for years to come. 

This system can self-diagnose problems and will self-heal itself in microseconds. This is a major step forward in reliability – widespread outages that may have taken hours to locate and repair in the past can be isolated to the exact location within seconds. Some members might still experience an outage, but many that would normally be part of the outage would only notice a blink in their power while the system rerouted the electricity to their location by an alternative route. The Smart Grid will potentially reduce outage times from hours to seconds. 

Smart Grid technology allows us to meet the member’s evolving needs. Our members’ options and needs are evolving as technology advances. This technology will allow us to offer faster response times, greater power quality and more opportunities for members to leverage smart home devices to improve the quality of their lives. 

No. As a not-for-profit, MTE makes improvements to the system every year while having one of the lowest rates in the state and maintaining electric rates 25% lower than the national average. 

While Smart Grid technologies have a cost, MTE is diligent with reducing that cost through gained efficiencies. As good financial stewards, the investment in the Smart Grid will be carefully implemented to limit the impact on members. 

Creating the Smart Grid is a long-term project; it will take years to complete.  Middle Tennessee Electric is one of the five largest electrical cooperatives in the country and the largest in Tennessee with a service area covering more than 2,100 square miles with more than 12,000 miles of energized line. 

Fully integrating the entire grid is a high priority, but it will take time to implement the system to our distribution substations, local businesses, and the homes we serve. 

One of the many Smart Grid benefits will be an improvement in our ability to provide higher power quality to our business members while reducing downtime during outages. Please contact one of our Key Account Coordinators for more precise energy management data for your planning purposes. 

Rutherford & Cannon

Rutherford & Cannon

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Wilson

Williamson

Building contractors and developers currently work with the MTE Engineering team to plan infrastructure installations in new communities and developments. As we continue to build for the future with Smart Grid technology, contractors and developers will need to stay up to date about the latest changes. For more details on the latest construction specification updates needed to implement the Smart Grid, please contact a local MTE Development Engineer:

Rutherford & Cannon

Williamson

Wilson

You can contact us directly with any questions. As your Trusted Energy Advisor and Provider, Middle Tennessee Electric is always ready to provide answers to your energy needs. 

If you're looking for some additional online resources, check out www.Energy.gov or www.SmartGrid.gov 

More information about Smart Grid

Middle Tennessee Electric is undertaking a significant long-term infrastructure upgrade to better meet our members’ current and future needs. This improvement involves creating a ‘Smart Grid’ using the latest electric distribution technology to increase reliability and power quality while reducing and shortening outages. As we implement Smart Grid, we've started answering some frequently asked questions our members have about the technology. 

Smart Grid FAQs

Middle Tennessee Electric has invested in advanced meters to improve the quality and efficiency of the electric systems that serve our members. Our advanced meters have allowed us to improve reliability by pinpointing and responding to outages more effectively. They also let us build a technological foundation to enable future tools and services for our members. Finally, they provide environmental benefits through the interconnectivity of renewable energy sources, demand response, and energy efficiency. 

Advanced Meter FAQ

MTE has teamed with Tesla, one of the most innovative technology companies in the energy industry, to test a new program intended to save members money via a cutting-edge energy management process.

Learn about battery storage

MTE is committed to making life better for members. One way we're accomplishing this purpose is through the research and commitment to innovative energy technology like Smart Grid infrastructure and microgrid research.

Microgrid

Other Engineering Information

Engineering

Construction Standards Update

MTE has updated its specifications for new development to include provisions for a conduit design to accommodate Smart G

Engineering

Underground Service

MTE and virtually all other electric utilities build to an overhead standard as the most cost-effective type of construction. We are open to putting lines underground provided the additional cost is covered by or for the member. Overhead service was established as the standard construction because over time it has been the most cost-effective design. When alternatives like underground service are requested by developers or mandated by cities, the member benefiting from the alternative design pays the additional cost.

Engineering

Microgrid

A microgrid can operate independently and can be powered by generators, batteries, or renewable resources.
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