Like early adopter utilities in California, Texas and Florida, Maryland’s largest utility will soon be rolling out smart grid technology, right in Charm City. Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, announced Monday that it plans to deploy 2 million smart meters for all of its customers. The rollout will cost an estimated $500 million over five years, but could save BGE’s customers $2.6 billion.
BGE has only filed its smart meter plan with the state regulator — the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) — but the utility asked the commission to move quickly on its proposal so that it can also apply for federal smart grid stimulus funds for the project. BGE hopes to get a $200 million grant from DOE stimulus funds, and will file for the funds by August (the deadline for proposals), hoping to receive them by October.
While the program will cost $500 million to deploy and will partly be paid for with rate hikes of up to $1.24 per month for electric customers and $1.52 for gas customers, BGE says savings will be higher than costs by a ratio of 3 to 1. That data comes from BGE’s pilot smart meter trials, which involved 3,000 homes between July and November of 2008. In those trials, BGE found that customers reduced their energy consumption by up to 37 percent during peak electricity periods, and saved $100 on their energy bills.
I imagine replacing your existing electric meter with the new variety shouldn’t be more difficult for your meter reader than it was to replace our old original with a wifi-equipped version a couple years back. The critters only plug-in like a giant glass toadstool fuse – yank out the old and shove the new one into place.
Took longer for the meter dude to walk from his truck around to the back of the house and back – than it took to actually change out the meter. Of course, I don’t now what’s required after that; but, I’d hope it can be accomplished from electricity central station.