Duke Energy has reached a settlement agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and key consumer groups on a proposal to begin modernizing its electric grid to create an intelligent power delivery system.
The smart-grid initiative would employ advanced digital technology to save energy, improve the reliability of the power delivery system, improve customer service and reduce the impact on the environment.
The settlement was reached between Duke Energy, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the Duke Energy Indiana Industrial Group, Nucor Steel and the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Inc.
If the settlement is approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Duke Energy will work to begin installing smart-energy meters and related equipment within six months.
The settlement provides for periodic program evaluation by all the parties and gradually ramping up meter installations. Duke Energy's goal is to install more than 800,000 smart meters throughout its 69-county service area over approximately five to six years.
In addition, the settlement agreement provides for a renewable distributed generation pilot in which photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and solar thermal water heaters will be installed at a specified number of homes and small businesses. Furthermore, the company will pilot advanced pricing options for customers, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and residential home energy management systems. The residential home energy management system pilot would allow participating customers to manage their energy usage through an Internet portal.
‘The energy future demands an intelligent power grid to handle distributed generation, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide our customers with more energy efficient options and control,’ says Todd Arnold, Duke Energy senior vice president of smart-grid and customer systems.
Arnold also says the company will soon apply for economic stimulus funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help offset the costs associated with deployment of the smart-grid system. Over the five- to six-year deployment schedule, the company is expected to invest approximately $445 million.
SOURCE: Duke Energy