Image: PSE&G

New Jersey utility Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) has received investment approval of $700 million in smart meters over the next four years.

The approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will enable PSE&G to provide its 2.3 million electricity customers with smart meters – the largest installation of smart meter technology in the state.

Smart meters form the foundation of PSE&G’s Energy Cloud initiative to create an integrated, real-time communications network between the company and its customers.

Benefits envisaged include near real-time outage detection and restoration crew dispatch, automatic near real-time meter reading and support for customers through channels such as smart home assistants to manage their energy use and spend.

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“This is a vital step toward achieving a smarter and cleaner energy future for New Jersey,” PSE&G President Dave Daly said in a statement.

“A smart meter network is essential to PSEG’s Powering Progress vision for a future in which we help our customers use less energy, ensure that the energy they do use is cleaner and deliver that energy more reliably than ever.”

PSE&G aims to complete the rollout by the end of 2024.

The implementation of a smart meter network is another step toward achieving the state’s energy plan, which targets 100% clean energy by 2050.

The plan released in January 2020 calls for utilities to accelerate the deployment of smart meters along with the related grid infrastructure in a coordinated way so that “the state can begin realizing the benefits of a connected grid while also containing costs and reducing stranded assets”.

Notably, the plan calls for investment in the data handling infrastructure and creation of customer programmes so that the capabilities of the smart meters are fully leveraged. Such programmes should be deployed simultaneously with the smart meters so customers immediately benefit from the new capabilities.

PSE&G is New Jersey’s oldest and largest gas and electric delivery public utility, serving three-quarters of the state’s population.

Other New Jersey utilities still to complete their smart meter plans are Atlantic City Electric and Jersey Central Power and Light.