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Houston, TX, United States

CenterPoint Energy is a Fortune 500 electric and natural gas utility serving several markets in the U.S. states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. It was formerly known as Reliant Energy , NorAm Energy, Houston Industries, and HL&P. The company is headquartered in the CenterPoint Energy Tower at 1111 Louisiana Street in Downtown Houston. Some of its notable subscribers include Retail Electric Providers , such as Reliant Energy, Champion Energy, Dynowatt, Ambit Energy, Texas Power, Bounce Energy, MXenergy, Direct Energy, Stream Energy, First Texas Energy Corporation, Gexa Energy and Cirro Energy. Wikipedia.

News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/energy/

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston canceled school for a second straight day on Tuesday and Exxon Mobil Corp sent employees home early as a precaution against rain that sent rivers flooding streets, left six dead and led to more than 1,000 water rescues in the country's fourth most populous city. Exxon said it was worried rising water levels in nearby Spring Creek could flood roads surrounding its new campus and prevent people from leaving or entering. The National Weather Service put a flash flood watch in effect for large parts of the Houston area and into southwestern Louisiana on Tuesday after several inches of rain added to Monday's deluge of as much as 18 inches (45 cm) in some areas of Harris County, which includes Houston. A low pressure system in Colorado and surrounding states pulled moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, sparking a string of heavy thunderstorms that drenched nine counties, according to the National Weather Service. More rain is expected. Heavy storms that park atop the city in low winds can overwhelm Houston's system of drainage channels that move water back to the Gulf via the Houston Ship Channel, particularly if the ground is already saturated. The city faced similar widespread flooding during a Memorial Day storm last year and Tropical Storm Allison's torrent in 2001. All those killed since these storms started were found in vehicles caught on flooded roadways. They include four males and two females. Only one has been identified, Pedro Morales, 60, whose body was found in the cab of an 18-wheeler in a flooded roadway, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said. More than 6,300 customers were without power in the Houston area on Tuesday afternoon, a sharp decrease from more than 100,000 a day earlier, CenterPoint Energy said. Flood waters that blocked roads to downtown and other main areas of the city have mostly receded, and officials said most people should be able to make it back to work. "The city is back to normal operations but be careful driving in. Now we plan to help people recover from the flooding waters," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet. At a news conference, he said about 20 inspection teams from city hall were in the field and that 183 houses have been damaged. The city is moving quickly to remove debris so that it does not pile up and shelters are being set up, he said. "I know that there may be some who may want to go back to their homes, but they may not be habitable. We are working at the same time to find temporary or permanent housing," Turner said. More than 100 flights were canceled on Tuesday at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. More than 1,000 flights were canceled at major Texas airports on Monday due to the storms, it said. Rains in other parts of Texas were expected to cause rivers to crest later in the week, bringing floods to downstream areas. Texas oil fields and refineries around Galveston Bay were not impacted, though a gasoline-making unit at Royal Dutch Shell Plc's joint-venture Deer Park refinery was shut for up to six weeks, two sources said on Tuesday. It was not clear if the outage was related to rains, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly about refinery operations.

News Article | September 10, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

The tragic 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion served as proof of how a small pipeline leak combined with human error can cause a devastating disaster. This has led the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to propose new regulations for gas pipelines across the country in order to prevent another major pipeline catastrophe. At the same time, utilities are beginning to adopt advanced technologies and methods that provide better data to experts — helping to prevent accidents that threaten public health and safety. If PHMSA requires operators to use these emerging leak detection technologies and quantification and analytical methods, we could see improved utility safety programs and a decline incidents related to human error. A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) finds that readily available technologies can enhance the information available at pipeline operators’ fingertips and reduce the opportunity for human error by using existing data on failure histories, customer calls, and condition-assessments to manage their pipeline system with more transparency. This, in turn, takes out some of the guess work that experts might use to make subjective recommendations about pipeline safety. Operators can also integrate spatial analytics with information about the pipeline’s condition to get a scientifically rigorous snapshot of pipeline risks in near real-time to inform investment planning and better prioritize where pipeline replacement projects take place. The PwC report also says data from advanced leak detection technology can be added to traditional utility data sets and analyzed to provide new information on the frequency of leaks in a given area. In fact, some operators like PG&E and CenterPoint Energy are integrating advanced leak detection and quantification data into predictive models that can help pipeline operators proactively repair or replace risky pipeline segments before they become a problem. Altogether, the PwC study concludes that spatially-attributed data from advanced leak detection technology can offer calculable data to improve risk assessment. The methods can help experts find more gas leaks faster, improve pipeline integrity and reduce risks to public health and safety. Some utilities have already started implementing spatial analytics, advanced leak detection, and leak quantification methods for infrastructure management to improve the safety and integrity of the gas systems – which should be the standard nationwide. PHMSA has deferred rulemaking on leak detection to a subsequent, as yet unscheduled process. But there are several places in the current proposed gas pipeline safety rules where the agency could incorporate leading leak detection and quantification practices: PHMSA’s proposed rules are long overdue, and if adopted intact would greatly improve pipeline safety. However, the rules could reduce risks even further if they included references and requirements to use spatially-attributed, advanced leak detection and quantification data. While engineers and on-the-ground professional analysis will always be important for protecting pipelines, current technologies can provide a useful backstop to support decisions that can have serious consequences.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--C3 Energy, the leader in enterprise analytic software solutions for the global energy industry, today announced that its C3 Predictive Maintenance cloud-based software application has been recognized in the 2015 Fierce Innovation Awards. C3 Predictive Maintenance received top honors based on its unique ability to help utilities accurately prioritize and optimize network asset management through advanced, cost effective technologies such as cloud computing, big data analytics, and machine learning. Through improved reliability and decreased maintenance costs, C3 Predictive Maintenance delivers an estimated recurring annual economic benefit of $20 per meter to a utility and its customers. Utility deployments of C3 Predictive Maintenance at scale today are addressing more than 15,000 distribution feeders and 230,000 secondary substations, serving approximately 15 million customers. An elite panel of judges composed of energy industry experts from Ameren Corporation, CenterPoint Energy, Commonwealth Edison, Duke Energy, Iberdrola USA, PECO, and San Diego Gas & Electric, evaluated solutions based on technology innovation, financial impact, market validation, compatibility with existing network environments, end-user customer experience, and overall level of innovation. “Utilities are under increasing pressure to improve grid reliability while decreasing operating costs. Shifting from reactive to predictive maintenance can mitigate the risks and expenses associated with asset failure and emergency replacements,” said Ed Abbo, president and CTO of C3 Energy. “C3 Predictive Maintenance enables utilities – as well as power generators, oil and gas companies, and, really, any organization with industrial equipment requiring continuous monitoring and regular maintenance – to understand and assess system risk and reliability in near-real time, identify high-risk assets before they fail, reduce unexpected capital and operating expenditures, and reduce unplanned outages.” C3 Predictive Maintenance uses scalable cloud computing to apply advanced machine learning algorithms to provide utility operators with diagnostic and planning tools that optimize power generation and transmission and distribution (T&D) system maintenance and management decisions. The software application advances traditional asset monitoring and response by continuously analyzing all available sensor data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), real-time operational input from SCADA systems, and other wide-area measurement (WAM) sensors, including high-frequency data from phasor measurement units (PMUs). In addition, C3 Predictive Maintenance correlates and analyzes detailed operation, lifecycle, and maintenance history, reconstructs the state of the as-operated network at any given point in time, and tracks dynamic asset and system health scores across asset classes and on individual assets. C3 Energy enables energy companies to realize the full benefit of their IoT and system investments. C3 Energy applies the power of big data, advanced analytics, social networking, machine learning, and cloud computing to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of power generation and delivery. It is transforming the energy value chain with a family of tested and proven SaaS applications built upon C3 CyberPhysix™, its comprehensive design, development, provisioning, and operating platform for deploying industrial-scale cyber physical applications for the energy industry. C3 Energy delivers end-to-end solutions across the power and oil and gas value chains. We make the Internet of Energy a reality. Learn more at www.C3energy.com.

News Article | October 31, 2015
Site: www.arkansasonline.com

Customers of natural gas companies in Arkansas will see lower bills starting next month, the state's three gas utilities reported Friday in filings with the Arkansas Public Service Commission. This story is only available from the Arkansas Online archives. Stories can be purchased individually for $2.95. Click here to search for this story in the archives.

News Article | October 29, 2015
Site: www.greentechmedia.com

Regulators in New York recently released guidance for the state’s electric utilities’ distributed system implementation plans, which are due next June. One of the items that utilities will have to address is the need for advanced metering infrastructure to meet the goals of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision. REV calls for the elimination of electric peaks, greater distributed generation, and more consumer participation in energy markets, and requires utilities to enable those transactions. “There’s a very lively debate about what kind of metering is absolutely necessary,” said Audrey Zibelman, chair of New York’s Public Service Commission. The debate revolves around whether all customers even need a two-way digital smart meter. There are also questions about baseline communications capabilities, and whether there are other technologies that could provide the same granular data to utilities and third parties at a lower cost. But for some of the largest utilities in the state, the plan for a full rollout of meters is already underway. At the beginning of 2015, Consolidated Edison filed a rate case that included a six-year smart meter implementation schedule. Con Edison was handed a one-year rate freeze, but the smart meter plan has continued to move forward. Earlier this month, Con Edison filed an updated business plan for advanced metering infrastructure. It will involve 4.7 million meters to its gas and electric customers at a cost of about $1.3 billion. It will come with near-real-time data available to customers and a network that will support far more than meters. “It’s the biggest project in Con Edison’s 190-year history,” said Tom Magee, general manager of Con Edison’s automated meter initiative. Con Edison has a conditional approval to move forward with back-end IT work at a cost of nearly $70 million while the utility awaits a full ruling early in 2016. Con Edison is not alone. Its subsidiary, Orange and Rockland Utilities, has filed for AMI in its most recent rate case and will file an AMI business plan at the same time as the distributed system implementation plan (DSIP) filing. Iberdrola has also included AMI in its most recent rate case and will include more details in its DSIP filing next year. Zibelman said that the DSIPs will have to detail how smart meters will allow for advanced distribution system management, while also showing how the meters would provide customers more information. Utilities will have to define which parts of an AMI system should be owned by the utility versus which could be owned or maintained by a third party. There are nearly 60 million smart meters in the U.S., but the bulk of the meters in New York have not yet been upgraded. The $1.3 billion cost is in line with other large AMI rollouts, including those of CenterPoint Energy and Commonwealth Edison. Operations and maintenance costs are higher in Con Edison’s filing compared to some other utilities, according to Andrew Mulherkar, grid edge analyst with GTM Research. That will likely have to be justified to regulators. The system is still projected to save $1 billion over 20 years after all costs are considered. One reason for the higher-than-average operations costs could be that Con Edison is preparing for vastly improved IT capability to make the most of the system. Con Edison plans to have the most advanced analytics and near-real-time data of any meter deployment on the planet. “We’re designing the system with advanced analytics in mind,” said James Prettitore, director of technology services at Con Edison. The system would pull in more than 1.5 billion data points daily. That could signal a change from some earlier smart meter deployments, in which large amounts of data was collected, but utilities were not making use of it across utility operations. As with other New York utilities, Con Edison will also have to find ways to monetize some of that data under REV by providing services to third parties and customers -- all while ensuring customer privacy. Con Edison is confident that offering near-real-time data in 15-minute intervals (5-minute intervals for large C&I customers) will provide the sort of granular information that can create new earning mechanisms for utilities and third parties. Third parties are already arguing that some of the benefits from a utility AMI deployment could be provided at a lower cost through other means, such as deploying smart inverters or by leveraging home Wi-Fi connections. For instance, the Retail Energy Supply Association argued that an expanded time-of-use or smart home rate should be the “province of competitive ESCOs and DER providers” rather than being set by the utility. Utilities that do not choose large AMI deployments will likely still have to agree on some sort of baseline communications so that third parties can deploy smart meters to customers who want more advanced energy service offerings. “What kind of metering do you need in what circumstances?” asked Zibelman. The answer to that question could influence how much of the $1.3 billion can be rate-based and what portion might be recouped through market-based earnings, especially if additional costs for granular analytics mean that some customers will benefit more than others. That issue will be sorted out during Track 2 of the REV proceeding. “There’s certainly an opportunity to reallocate some of the cost of the system,” said Zibelman. Con Edison maintains that the full benefits of the network can only be realized if there’s a full deployment, particularly for ramping up demand response opportunities, upgrading outage management systems and doing voltage management. “You just can’t do it without wide-scale meters,” said Prettitore. The business plan points to the success of residential demand response programs at SMUD and OG&E as well as more than $40 million per year in fuel savings costs from voltage optimization that can be done with the smart meter network. As with many other AMI deployments, Con Edison and other New York utilities are looking at the full potential of the meters. Con Edison is already meeting with stakeholders such as the municipal government of New York City and the Metropolitan Transit Authority to evaluate additional opportunities, such as smart streetlights that could be networked on the smart meter communications infrastructure, as Florida Power & Light is doing in Miami-Dade County. The business plan Con Edison put together also identifies additional value in sensors that could leverage the AMI network for applications such as methane detection and arc fault detection on the underground system. The utility is currently evaluating meter vendors for the contract, and expects each one to bring an AMI system with open-source architecture that will allow for layered applications. “We don’t think REV can happen without this project,” said Magee. “These are the technology and tools to enable REV.”

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