PECO planning advanced smart grid

Philadelphia, August 6, 2009 – PECO is planning to install more than 1.6 million residential and commercial smart meters, deploy advanced communications networks and use the latest in digital smart grid technology.

The $650 million plans, to be filed this month with the U.S. Department of Energy and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, would help customers understand their energy use, reduce their energy costs and improve service.

The company’s plans include building an advance metering infrastructure, providing smart meters for 600,000 customers by 2012 and all 1.6 million customers in 10 years, and upgrading the company’s electric transmission and distribution system to operate as an intelligent, ‘self-healing’ smart grid – able to automatically identify and correct certain system problems.

The first plan, filed with the DOE, seeks $200 million in matching funds through the federal stimulus grant program. Included in the submission are letters of support from nearly 100 organizations including members of Congress, city, county and state officials, chambers of commerce and vendors. A stimulus grant would allow for a faster, wider smart meter and smart grid deployment.

The stimulus application also includes several private-public partnerships that would:

  • Support low-income customers involving the Philadelphia Housing Authority as well as suburban county housing and social service agencies
  • Fund advanced energy management systems, and related applications and research at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania
  • Allow for technology demonstrations at 10 commercial office buildings owned and managed by Malvern, Pa.-based Liberty Property Trust
  • Sponsor job training opportunities to support rapid smart-meter installations
  • Pursue targeted customer deployment and renewable energy applications with the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and others

PECO’s smart meter plan – to be submitted to the PUC on August 14 – will seek approval to install the advanced metering infrastructure, backbone communications network and information systems to integrate customer energy usage with utility operations. The communications network – fiber optics and wireless – will enable two-way communication between the smart meters and the smart grid

PECO also announced today it received expedited approval from the state PUC of one component of its $342 million package of energy efficiency and conservation programs proposed earlier this summer. PECO will now proceed to launch a widespread compact fluorescent light (CFL) program with retailer discounts, rebates and incentives to encourage greater customer use.

The full suite of energy efficiency and conservation programs is aimed to support the company’s efforts to help customers save money. The PUC will act on the remaining programs this fall so they can be available to the public in early 2010.

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