National Grid proposes projects suitable for federal stimulus funding


Tom King,
National Grid
New York, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 21, 2009  – In response to a New York State Public Service Commission request for projects suitable for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, National Grid is proposing two smart grid technology demonstration projects in Upstate New York and other investments to modernize and enhance its transmission and distribution system.

The projects proposed are to build and operate two 40,000 customer smart grid demonstration projects in the Syracuse area and the Capital District, as well as to implement additional reliability enhancements throughout the state.

“National Grid applauds the New York State Public Service Commission for taking a comprehensive approach to matching the needs of the state’s energy consumers with the need to create jobs and stimulate economic activity,” said Tom King, president of National Grid in the U.S. “We believe our proposal supports the essential efforts to improve energy efficiency, enhance network reliability, and address climate change.”

On April 2, the PSC issued a request to National Grid and other utilities planning to apply to the U.S. Department of Energy to receive grants under the Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (EDER) competitive program within ARRA, to file proposals with the state. Under the program, the DOE may provide grants to successful applicants of up to 50 percent of the costs of qualifying investments. The PSC seeks to determine whether the remaining costs of these investments would be reasonable for New York ratepayers.

The smart grid programs represent the first step toward creating a more efficient, environmentally responsible modern grid. National Grid hopes to gain valuable information from the programs that it can use in the future to develop a smart grid on a wider scale.

Earlier this month, National Grid filed a proposal with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for a similar smart grid program in Worcester, MA, as requested by the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Act (see Massachusetts utilities unveil smart grid programs).

Under the programs, all customers will receive a smart meter, and as an option, customers can have additional equipment installed in their homes that includes special programmable thermostats and other devices that provide data and support energy management.

Eventually, the company envisions that customers will be able to purchase smart appliances that will connect to the smart grid and start or stop when programmed to do so. Participating customers will be asked how they prefer to receive their energy information – via text message, from the internet, or on a PDA – and arrangements will be made for them to view and monitor energy consumption on a real time basis. Additionally, customers will have the option to receive a new rate plan that allows them to save money during periods when electricity use is at its highest across the region.

In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers and gas to 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).