BGE Plans Huge Smart Grid Initiative

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) announced it has filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) an advanced smart grid initiative, including the planned installation of 2 million residential and commercial smart meters. The company says its plan could potentially save BGE electric and gas customers in excess of US $2.6 billion over the life of the project.

In an extensive pilot program that began in 2008, smart meters and a new pricing plan proved that customers could reduce peak electricity usage by about a third and enjoy significant savings. BGE  is seeking prompt action by the Maryland PSC and federal approval of stimulus dollars in the form of a Department of Energy (DOE) grant of up to $200 million to partially fund the initiative.  The company expects initial deployment and operating costs to be nearly $500 million over five years with projected lifecycle customer savings exceeding costs by more than 3 to 1.

The first phase of the proposal is to install 2 million smart electric and gas meters that operate on a utility-to-customer, two-way communications network, forming the foundation for an automated, digital intelligent grid. The utility is also planning to roll out a new Smart Energy Pricing (SEP) program as its standard rate schedule, which would pay customers rebates for reducing power consumption during peak periods. In the pilot of advanced metering technology and Smart Energy Pricing, participating residential customers reduced their consumption during peak periods by 26 percent to 37 percent, saved more than $100 on average and gave the program a 93% satisfaction rating.

“This landmark proposal is one of the most ambitious of its kind nationwide,” said Kenneth DeFontes, President and CEO of BGE. “Our Smart Grid initiative includes a host of transformational programs and energy management tools that have the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve in Maryland. Smart grid is the foundation from which we can build a more efficient and sustainable energy network in Maryland. It enables large-scale penetration of renewable energy sources and allows us to begin the testing and research necessary to support next-generation transportation innovations, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”

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