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Baltimore Gas and Electric Company plans widespread installation of smart meters

Consumer Reports News: July 16, 2009 12:09 AM

2 million

Number of homes and businesses that will receive smart meters if an initiative filed by Baltimore Gas and Electric Company with the Maryland Public Service Commission is approved. In a 2008 pilot program, participating BGE homeowners reduced their electricity consumption by 26 to 37 percent during peak periods, slashing their annual electric bills by $100 on average.

BGE says the project will cost $500 million over five years to implement; $200 million of that could be covered by smart-grid funding in the federal stimulus bill. The remaining costs will be passed onto BGE customers via a monthly surcharge averaging $1.24 (electric customers) and $1.52 (gas customers).

"Our smart-grid initiative includes a host of transformational programs and energy management tools that have the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve in Maryland. This potential capital investment would improve system reliability and, most importantly, help customers conserve energy and lower their energy bills," said Kenneth DeFontes, president and CEO of BGE, in a release.

That consumers end up footing the bill is a common knock against smart-grid technology, but supporters of smart grids argue that the savings from lower energy bills outweigh any surcharge.—Daniel DiClerico | | Twitter | Forums | Facebook

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