Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Smart Meters Are Coming To Town Thanks To Obama

President Barack Obama is distributing the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history - $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant Awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will be matched by industry for a total investment worth more than $8 billion. This Stimulus Package money is getting out to utilities and they are making plans to replace dumb electric meters with smart meters.

Progress Energy will match their $200 million grant with $300 million of its own funding for system and equipment upgrades (smart meters) that will make their grid more efficient, saving consumers money in the Carolinas and in Florida. Duke Energy will receive a similar $200 million grant. The Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) and Atlantic City Electric Company were awarded a total of $168.1 million for smart meters and other devices for its operations in the Maryland suburbs of Washington and in other states. Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is getting a $200 million federal subsidy to provide every household with an advanced smart meter that will enable them to better control energy use. BGE plans to install 2 million of the devices between 2010 and 2014 and charge customers for the upgrade.

The smart meters will give residential and commercial customers hour-by-hour information about energy pricing and enable them to cut back at times of peak costs.

Two companies that produced meters and communications equipment for a BGE "smart meter" pilot project, Aclara and Sensus, have manufacturing facilities both in the United States and in other countries. The Aclara Two-Way Automatic Communications System (TWACS) Technology is a proven, fixed-network solution that uses technology to transmit data over power lines. Aclara TWACS Technology offers two-way communication to electric meters and provides for timely billing, load control, demand response, and outage detection and assessment. With the system, utilities can effectively manage customer data and reduce costs while enabling innovation and providing superior customer service. Sensus provides smart metering technologies and conservation solutions for automatic meter reading, (AMR), advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), smart grid applications, distribution automation, and communication that enable electric, gas, and water utilities to measure, manage, and control distributed resources. Sensus also supports home area networks that help households practice intelligent resource consumption. (Balt Sun, 10/28/09)

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