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Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy and its technology partners have completed meter and substation installations for part of Xcel's SmartGridCity in Boulder, Colo. The first meters are active and two-way communication between the customer and the utility company is a reality.

Xcel has installed 82 miles of fiber optic cable, which enables the two-way communication. By the end of the year, the utility will have more than 13,000 homes enabled with smart meters. By mid-2009, another 10,000 meters will be available for installation at the customer's request.

In addition, two substations in Boulder have been upgraded with smart technology. According to Xcel, the substations can automatically detect, isolate and restore electricity load when an outage occurs.

The utility says the smart substations allow remote monitoring of substation environmental factors, such as variable wind speeds. This information will allow the company to reduce the impact of outages by using predictive technologies to prevent outages from occurring and isolation technologies to reduce the duration of the outage event. By mid-2009, three additional substations in Boulder will be upgraded with smart grid enabled technologies.

SOURCE: Xcel Energy

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