T&D World Magazine

Connecticut Utility to Test Smart Meters

The ability to reduce electric bills by adjusting energy use based on real-time costs, as well as the option of using new “smart” thermostats and appliances to help regulate the amount of power being used may soon be a reality for customers of The Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P). The company has filed information with state regulators outlining how “smart” electricity meters could become standard equipment for all of its nearly 1.2 million customers by 2010.

"We applaud CL&P for taking a leadership role in New England by suggesting an AMI system that will be based on EPRI’s IntelliGrid architecture. CL&P joins other leading utilities worldwide who have adopted the IntelliGrid architecture to deploy an intelligent power delivery infrastructure to enable consumers to more effectively manage their energy consumption,” said Arshad Mansoor, vice president of power delivery for the Palo Alto, California-based Electric Power Research Institute.

Known as open advanced metering infrastructure or open AMI, the new technology has the ability to give customers more control to lower their utility bills. “These meters are an important technological step forward in helping Connecticut regain control of its energy future, by delivering a real solution to existing challenges,” said CL&P President Raymond P. Necci. “We are excited by the possibilities that open AMI can make available to our customers. With it, the smart homes of tomorrow will be here soon for CL&P’s customers.”

Necci noted that open AMI will not only increase energy efficiency but also help the company manage demand by giving CL&P’s customers access to time-of-use rates. These rates give incentives to customers shifting power use to off-peak hours. Programs like time-of-use rates will lessen peak demand for electricity and could ultimately defer the need for new electric generating plants, thus also providing environmental benefits in the state.

If authorized by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC), CL&P would test the technology through the installation of 500 meters before the end of 2007, followed by an expanded test of 10,000 meters in 2008. Information technology and meter database changes would also begin in 2008. The remainder of the meters would be installed in 2009 and the first half of 2010.

CL&P’s filing, which is subject to review and approval by the DPUC, is in response to the final decision on Docket 05-10-03. A decision is anticipated later this year.

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