Washington, D.C., June 13, 2011 — At a White House Grid Modernization event today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that more than five million smart meters have been installed nationwide as part of Recovery Act-funded efforts to accelerate modernization of the nation's electric grid.
Smart meters will provide utility companies with greater information about how much electricity is being used throughout their service areas. They will also give consumers access to real-time information about their energy consumption, allowing them to make well-informed decisions about how they use their electricity.
"To compete in the global economy, we need a modern electricity grid," said Secretary Chu. "An upgraded electricity grid will give consumers choices and promote energy savings, increase energy efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy resources."
Transforming the nation's current electric grid into a smarter system involves a wide range of advanced technologies — including smart meters — that will improve the reliability and security of the grid, allow for the integration of renewable energy sources and help prevent blackouts and restore power more quickly when outages occur.
Nearly 90 percent of the meters installed to date are in Florida, Texas, California, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Nevada. Some of the projects currently being implemented to help consumers manage their electricity use include:
* Florida Power & Light Co. (Miami, Fla.) is deploying an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation technologies, new electricity pricing programs and advanced monitoring equipment for the transmission system. The goal is to increase reliability, reduce energy losses, and reduce operations and maintenance costs. As of April 30, 1.8 million smart meters have been installed. DOE award: $200 million in Recovery Act funding.
* CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric's (Houston, Texas) project involves deployment of a fully integrated advanced metering system and Web portal access to over 2.2 million customers and installation of advanced monitoring and distribution automation equipment. The goal is to reduce peak loads, overall electricity use, and operations and maintenance costs while increasing distribution system reliability. As of April 30, 1.3 million smart meters have been installed. DOE award: $200 million in Recovery Act funding.
In addition, the DOE also announced a plan to create a data map that will allow consumers to contribute information about the data on their electricity use that their utility company provides them. This map will show where quality information is available nationwide based on voluntary consumer input.
Access to information is a critical piece in helping consumers understand their energy use and their opportunities to save money through energy efficiency improvements. DOE will work over the summer with utilities, consumer groups, state and local officials, other stakeholders and the public to design the website that will launch in the fall.
The DOE is also continuing to host a series of regional peer-to-peer stakeholder meetings to facilitate a dialogue among early adopters of smart grid technologies. The purpose of these meetings is to share lessons learned about smart grid technology deployment to help replicate successes.