COLUMBUS, OH, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 5, 2007 – American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, and GE Energy, a business unit of General Electric, will pursue the development, integration and deployment of advanced energy delivery infrastructure and metering technologies in an agreement that will enhance the consumer’s ability to control and reduce electricity costs as well as improve the overall efficiency of electricity use.
The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding and are continuing discussions to reach a definitive agreement to develop technology platforms and programs that will transform how electricity is delivered to – and used by – consumers.
The AEP-GE initiative “is the first in the industry to address the full energy pathway from the power plant to the home,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.
AEP will deploy advanced metering (often referred to as smart meters) and the enhanced infrastructure technology resulting from the partnership with GE in two regions – representing approximately 200,000 customers – by the end of 2008, if necessary regulatory approvals are received. The advanced metering, combined with special rate plans, will allow customers to better understand their energy consumption and, by utilizing signals indicating time-of-day prices, reduce their electricity costs. AEP will select specific locations for this initial deployment after evaluating potential sites in its 11-state service area. Primary selection criteria will be urban/suburban areas with 50,000 to 100,000 customers.
AEP plans to have the advanced metering and enhanced infrastructure technologies in use to serve a million of its customers by the end of the decade and in use to serve its entire customer base of more than 5 million by the end 2015, pending appropriate regulatory approvals in the states where AEP operates. Customers in areas where the technologies are deployed will have direct control over their electricity usage, and delivery of electricity to the consumer will be more efficient. The metering and infrastructure technologies each can reduce electricity demand.
“Many in our sector are moving toward deployment of smart meters, but our strategy goes far beyond that,” Morris said. “We’re working with GE, a world leader in electronics and infrastructure, to integrate the smart meters necessary to provide options for our customers with enhancements to the distribution and transmission backbone necessary for our utilities to benefit. We’re addressing the full energy pathway from the power plant to the home.
“By integrating the customer device – a smart meter – with behind-the-scenes technology to improve efficiency and control of the flow of electricity, we can reduce both customer demand and energy wasted as heat from equipment that delivers the electricity,” Morris said. “This increased efficiency by customers and by our own grid translates to a reduction both in fuel used and greenhouse gas emissions released by our power plants. It also helps delay the need for new generation to keep up with the growth in demand.
“We see this agreement with GE as being a winner for our customers, our company and for the environment,” Morris said. AEP and GE each have been in business for more than a century and have a long-standing customer-supplier relationship.