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New Jersey BPU Approves Smart Energy Network to Improve Reliability

July 16, 2021
Initiative to upgrade local energy grid and install smart meters to enhance reliability, improve customer experience.

Atlantic City Electric received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to build a Smart Energy Network across the company's entire South Jersey service area. This includes upgrading the local energy grid and installing smart meters to enhance local energy grid reliability and resilience, and improve the customer experience.

The Smart Energy Network is a critical component in the company's efforts to create smarter and more resilient energy infrastructure to minimize the impacts of more frequent and powerful storms, and to connect more customers to a variety of clean energy choices, including installing solar energy, participating in robust energy efficiency programs, and accessing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).

"The Smart Energy Network is not only instrumental in providing our customers with new tools and resources to help them take control of their energy use but will also enable much faster service restoration following powerful storms," said Gary Stockbridge, Atlantic City Electric region president. "We will continue to keep our customers informed about our progress to install the Smart Energy Network and we look forward to bringing the benefits of the Smart Energy Network to communities across South Jersey."

Atlantic City Electric customers will benefit from the Smart Energy Network in several key ways, including:

  • Enhanced reliability with faster and more efficient power restoration for customer homes or businesses, especially following increasingly common severe weather events.
  • Improved bill management tools and new online features will enable customers to view their daily and hourly energy usage trends to help save money and energy.
  • Programs to help customers take control of their energy use and reduce usage during peak savings days, earning credits on their bill and helping the environment.
  • Better integration of new clean energy technologies and services, including clean electric transportation, rooftop and community solar, and battery storage.
  • Better customer experience through upgraded technology will improve billing operations, nearly eliminating the need for estimated billing.

The Smart Energy Network will allow Atlantic City Electric to safely restore power to customer homes and businesses faster and more efficiently. In the event of a power outage, smart meters will alert the company and assist crews in identifying the cause and location of the outage. Using real-time data, Atlantic City Electric can better prioritize how to dispatch crews and plan restoration work, streamlining restoration efforts and restoring customers faster following major storms.

Atlantic City Electric anticipates beginning to build the Smart Energy Network in mid-2022. Meter exchanges would occur over the course of 24 months. The company will work closely with its customers and communities regarding the meter exchange process. The company will undertake a comprehensive customer and community outreach and education campaign to help ensure customer awareness of the planned work and the numerous benefits of the Smart Energy Network.

The Smart Energy Network is expected to create new jobs for field technicians and support personnel for meter exchanges as well as project management personnel and IT technicians for the installation of specialized networking equipment. This work will help power the state's economic recovery and lay a foundation for building the nation's clean energy economy in New Jersey.

The cost associated with the implementation of the Smart Energy Network will be spread across Atlantic City Electric's customer base over a period of many years in order to achieve the reliability, resilience, and efficiency benefits while maintaining affordability.

Building the network is expected to cost approximately US$212 million, or about US$4.27 on the monthly bill for a typical Atlantic City Electric residential customer using 680 kWh/month. The company's rigorous cost-benefit analysis shows that these costs will be offset by US$415 million in significant customer and operational benefits gained through operational efficiencies, energy efficiency and demand response programs, enhanced billing operations, voltage optimization, and other opportunities.

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