Smart Grid Tech Desired by OG&E

OKLAHOMA CITY—OG&E filed an application with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission seeking approval to install smart meters and related technology across the company’s Oklahoma service area.  

Smart meters, when supported by in-home tools and new pricing models, will give customers opportunities to make energy-use decisions that shift demand away from peak afternoon hours, when electricity costs are at their highest, to lower-cost times of day – saving money on their monthly bills and helping OG&E delay the need for the costly addition of more generating capacity.

“This technology is an integral component of our plan to avoid new fossil fuel generation until after 2020,” said Howard Motley, vice president of regulatory affairs for OG&E.

OG&E has already been given approval to install 42,000 smart meters in Norman. That approval also directed the company to conduct a study of in-home tools and innovative rate plans to help determine how customers can best benefit from the new technology.  If the Commission approves the plan filed today, OG&E will install more than 600,000 smart meters in its Oklahoma service area in the next three years.

Smart technology uses the networking capabilities of the new meters to allow the company to read meters remotely as well as start and stop service.  Future smart technology devices will add greater automation to the company’s electric system, helping to reduce the frequency and duration of outages. The full roll out of smart technology, which includes new meters, in-home technology and distribution automation, is expected to be largely completed around 2017.

“Smart technology benefits both the company and our customers in a number of important areas,” Motley said. “Deploying this technology will help improve our operating efficiency, which helps us manage customer costs.  It supports reliability and improves our outage response, which reduces the financial impact of long-term outages, and it establishes the foundation for delivering customers new tools to better manage their energy use.”

If approved, OG&E’s proposal would increase the average customer’s electric bill by about $2 per month for three years. The amount includes the costs for the Norman project, which the Commission previously approved.  The filing also includes the benefits of a $130 million federal stimulus grant that helps offset costs to customers.

“Our stimulus grant request was well received by officials at the Department of Energy,” Motley said.  “OG&E was one of a handful of utilities in our region to receive a grant, which will help accelerate our roll out while offsetting the cost to customers.”

OG&E, a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp., serves more than 777,000 customers in a service territory spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.  

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