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If success of the nationwide movement toward a more modernized electricity transmission system is measured by the number of smart meters installed, then, by recent accounts, it has been a hit.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), more than 5 million smart meters have been installed nationwide. Most of the meters have been installed in eight states: Florida, Texas, California, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan and Nevada.
Smart meters represent one of the cornerstones of the effort to make the nation’s electrical grid more efficient, reliable and secure. Improving the grid is also an essential element of the campaign to increase the use of renewable power and wean the nation off traditional fossil fuels.
The meters provide utilities and customers with greater access to information about energy use, time of use and waste. They allow utilities and customers to share information and enable customers to make better decisions about their consumption, contributing to greater efficiency.
In its announcement, the DOE highlighted several smart meter projects. For example, Florida Power & Light Co. in Miami is has deployed an advanced metering infrastructure project that has installed 1.8 million smart meters. CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric installed 1.3 million smart meters as part of its integrated advanced metering system, which also provides online access for 2.2 million customers to information about their energy use.
Each of these projects received $200 million in funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s support of grid modernization.
To further support the use of smart meters, the DOE is also creating a data map that will allow consumers to contribute their electricity-use data that their utility company provides them. The map will show where quality information is available nationwide based on voluntary consumer input.