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Co-op to roll out smart meters

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CoServ Electric announced this week that it is deploying smart meters for all of its members.

 

The digital electric meters, which use wireless radio signals to transmit moment by moment data on power usage from individual homes, allow consumers and electric companies to track and control electricity usage.

A future use of the technology could give utilities the ability to charge more for electricity at peak times and less during lulls.

“The Smart Grid presents an enormous opportunity to improve energy efficiency, and provide a more stable and secure electrical system,” said Dan Sheflin, Chairman of the Smart Grid Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Despite some negative publicity about smart meters during last year’s unusually cold winter – angry Dallas homeowners complained that their utility bills soared after the new meters were installed – CoServ officials said that the Texas Public Utility Commission’s study has confirmed that the products are accurately measuring and recording usage.

To reassure the public, CoServ plans to submit a random sample of each truckload of meters to a third-party testing organization. To ensure billing accuracy, additional quality control measures will be used, such as taking digital images of old and new meters during equipment change-outs. CoServ’s meter readers will continue reading smart meters manually until testing shows the new system will deliver electronic meter readings with accuracy, officials said.

The co-op will deploy Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream technology as the foundation for the new distribution technology initiative called eCoGrid.

The agreement comes on the heels of CoServ Electric’s board of directors approving the Department of Energy’s $17.2 million grant supporting the project.

“The path to eCoGrid will provide operational efficiencies that will reduce costs, streamline operations, improve system reliability, and eventually offer members new technology to monitor and reduce energy usage in their homes and businesses,” said CoServ Electric President and CEO Mike Dreyspring.

Initially, eCoGrid will be deployed as a 20,000 meter test next year in Little Elm and Frisco. CoServ expects that all of their customers will be online with the new meters by 2013.

For a timeline, deployment map, proof of concept information, FAQs, and more, visit www.coserv.com and click on eCoGrid.

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