Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1 million electric customers in central Maryland, recently announced an initiative to create one of the most extensive Smart Grids in the nation.

The company has filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) for a comprehensive and advanced Smart Grid initiative. BGE is seeking prompt action by the Maryland PSC and federal approval of stimulus dollars to position the utility to move to the next phase of this potential smart grid investment.

The initiative was launched after a pilot program in 2008, including smart meters and a new pricing plan, demonstrated that customers could reduce peak electricity usage by about a third and enjoy savings of more than $100 on average.

The first phase of the current initiative, which BGE president and CEO, Kenneth DeFontes, calls “one of the most ambitious of its kind nationwide,” would be the installation of 2 million advanced, or smart, electric and gas meters. The meters will operate through a robust utility-to-customer, two-way communications network, which will form the foundation for an automated, digital intelligent grid. The utility is also planning to roll out a new Smart Energy Pricing (SEP) program as its standard rate schedule, which would pay customers rebates for reducing power consumption during peak periods.

BGE’s Smart Grid proposal is projected to save its electric and gas customers in excess of $2.6 billion over the life of the project.