The Valle de Cauca province, located along Colombia’s Pacific coast, is home to a population of nearly 4.6 million, with the country’s third-largest economy. In 2012, EMCALI, the region’s primary utility and an early adopter of smart grid technologies, collaborated with USTDA for advanced solutions to manage peak electricity and more efficiently utilize its generation, transmission and distribution resources for its 550,000 residential, 30,000 commercial and 30,000 industrial customers.
After partnering with Missouri-based Aclara to implement an advanced metering infrastructure system, EMCALI installed more than 14,000 smart meters and 800 prepaid meters by the end of 2012. EMCALI subsequently looked to USTDA for options to develop an automated demand side management (ADSM) system allowing consumers to decrease electricity consumption during peak periods, reduce the need for expensive peak power generation and maintain grid reliability.
USTDA’s responded in 2015 by funding an ADSM feasibility study and first-of-its-kind pilot project that is now serving local businesses, a university and EMCALI’s own facilities. The project further enabled EMCALI to use ADSM to manage peak demand and reduce customer energy expenses by six percent. EMCALI also expanded its investment in smart meter coverage for its customers.
USTDA’s Chief Operating Officer, Head of Agency Todd Abrajano concluded that “Our work in Valle de Cauca demonstrates the cutting-edge innovation and lasting benefits of American ADSM technology. Even better, this project can easily be replicated across Colombia and has the ability to fill a critical need in improving power delivery throughout the region.”