T&D World Magazine

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company to Pilot Aclara Technology

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has selected the Aclara STAR Network system, one of the Aclara-brand technologies of ESCO Technologies Inc., to support the utility’s advanced metering infrastructure pilot program.

As part of BGE’s Smart Energy Savers ProgramSM, BGE is evaluating selected AMI technologies to transform and expand customer options to better manage energy use and lower energy consumption.

During the pilot BGE will evaluate Aclara’s STAR Network System as well as other AMI technologies in two Maryland service areas – the urban Baltimore City area as well as more rural Westminster. BGE is expected to select an AMI technology based on the results of the pilot and, upon approval by the Maryland Public Service Commission, plans to implement its chosen AMI program to its 1.2 million gas and electric customers beginning in 2009.

The pilot will evaluate system performance with both electric and gas meters and is scheduled to complete by the end of the year. It also will test two-way communications with demand-response devices, such as smart thermostats and load-control switches, which permit remote control of air conditioners, water heaters, and other equipment. The STAR Network solution will integrate with BGE’s meter data management system (MDMS), allowing transfer of information such as meter reads, outage data, tamper messages, and diagnostics between both systems.

“Two-way smart metering systems will allow our customers more control of energy use because they enable alternate time-of-use billing rates and provide customers with innovative energy management tools,” said Michael Butts, director of business transformation for BGE. “We are eager to test the capabilities of the STAR Network RF-based system in our urban and rural areas, and hope that the experience Aclara brings to the project will result in an effective, functioning system that will contribute to BGE’s energy conservation goals and improved customer service.”

“We look forward to deploying this pilot of the STAR Network system, a proven technology that will offer system reliability and peak demand reduction within BGE’s service area,” said Gary Moore, president of Aclara RF Systems Inc. “By encouraging customers to manage personal energy use, the STAR Network’s advanced metering solution supports the utility’s Smart Energy Savers Program as well as state-wide energy-efficiency initiatives.”

BGE’s AMI pilot is a component of BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program to transform and expand customer options for better managing energy use. Announced in January 2007, BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program initiatives also include: PeakRewards, a demand response program (scheduled to launch July 2008) which uses next generation “smart” thermostats and load control switches to cycle customers’ A/C units during high-demand, high-price periods; a Smart Energy Pricing (SEP) pilot to encourage customers to shift or reduce usage during peak usage times; and energy efficiency/conservation programs such as price mark downs on approved CFL light bulbs and rebates on ENERGY STAR appliances.

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