FirstEnergy suspends smart grid deployment


Akron, OH, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 2, 2010 – FirstEnergy is rumored to have suspended its smart grid deployment, following the Ohio Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) ruling Wednesday on the company’s “Smart Grid Modernization Initiative.”

The PUC approved the project, which is a three-year pilot program involving 44,000 customers in the Cleveland Electric Illuminating service territory, but has deferred the cost recovery issues to a later date, when it considers the company’s second plan covering the period June 2011 to May 2014.

The ruling comes hot on the heels of the Maryland Public Service Commission’s rejection of Baltimore Gas & Electric’s smart meter rollout plan over the company’s business plan. That ruling has also raised questions about the funding of US$136 million awarded to the project under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and according to the latest reports BGE must get its plan approved by the end of July or risk losing the funds.

Similarly the funding of US$36.1 million awarded to FirstEnergy is also now likely to be in jeopardy, with the PUC review of the second plan potentially taking up to six months.

Other notable points in the PUC’s ruling include setting a proposed cost recovery rider as a fixed monthly charge rather than being based on usage, and reporting comprehensively to the PUC on the outcome of the pilot.