Charlottesville, VA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 17, 2009 – Charlottesville has been selected by Dominion Virginia Power as the first city in Virginia to benefit from smart grid technology, in a $20 million program beginning with the installation of about 46,500 smart meters in the city of Charlottesville and Albermarle County.
More than half of the meters have been installed, with completion scheduled by the end of this year.
“This program launches a new era in energy efficiency and customer empowerment for Virginia,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion. “As the smart grid develops, energy conservation capabilities and programs will grow and provide additional benefits for our customers, the environment and our company.”
Pending regulatory approval where required, the highlights ultimately are expected to include automatic energy usage reduction of about 4 percent or more annually for typical residential customers through more efficient management of energy delivery by Dominion. That will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12,000 tons annually, equal to removing 2,100 cars from the road.
A demonstration project will provide customers web access for energy usage and billing information, and customers also will be given the option of time-based rates.
A demonstration project with Arlington, VA-based Positive Energy will provide periodic reports that show customers how their energy usage compares with other customers, and a demonstration project will test battery storage systems that could promote renewable electricity generation such as solar. There also will be a demonstration program for light-emitting diode (LED) street lights and assistance for Charlottesville to evaluate an electric transportation program.
The SmartGrid Charlottesville project is in addition to 12 energy conservation programs that Dominion Virginia Power plans to offer across its service area pending approval of the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The company expects to seek SCC approval for those programs in a filing early in July.
The Charlottesville-Albermarle County area was chosen for the project for several reasons. Its varied, hilly terrain provides a test of the two-way wireless communications capabilities of smart meters. It also has a mix of residential, business and institutional customers, and customers have expressed a high interest in actively managing their energy use.
Pending regulatory approval, the company plans to install smart meters and equipment throughout its service area over the next few years. The $600 million program is part of a plan the company announced in June 2008 that is expected to save customers more than $1 billion over the next 15 years through fuel savings and by potentially avoiding the need for two future power stations and delaying the need for two others.
Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion, which serves retail energy customers in 12 states.