BGE updates GBC committee on next-generation ‘Smart Grid’ technology

In spring 2012, the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BGE) will begin installing the next generation of advanced meters, the first phase in providing residential and small business customers with features that will help them manage their electric use and bills. Called “smart” meters, the meters will allow two-way communication between the meters and BGE via a wireless network.

Customers with new meters will see the first meter-related feature in summer 2012, a Web site that provides customers with access to their energy use information. With this information, customers can make changes to their household energy use that can decrease their monthly bills. The meters and Web portal are part of the company’s “smart grid” initiative, outlined by BGE’s director of the initiative, Michael Butts, at the GBC’s Built Environment Committee meeting on July 27.

By spring 2013, remote turn-on and turn-off capabilities will begin to be made available online to customers, according to Butts, along with dynamic pricing plans, so customers can further manage how much they spend on energy.

Butts explained that smart grid is an electric transmission and distribution system that is integrated with communications and IT networks. The project includes an installation of 1.2 million electric meters and 1,200 radios between 2012 and 2014 that will collect meter data and store it in a management system. The project also includes adding a new component to customers’ exisiting gas meters. Customers will eventually be able to access both electric and gas data online to see their hourly usage and a comparison of their energy consumption to customers in their area.

Once completed, smart grid will help to reduce the peak load and reduce the need for additional power plants. It will also improve reliability through automated outage and restorations reporting, Butts said.

At the Built Environment Committee meeting, Maryland Department and Planning Secretary Richard Hall also presented updated information regarding the Smart Growth Plan for our state. PlanMaryland is designed to create a better and more sustainable future for Maryland. It will better position the state to partner with the local government, development community, environments, and citizens to grow smarter, said Hall.

By 2035, Maryland will have one million new residents, 500,000 new homes, and 600,000 new jobs, he said.

PlanMaryland will create policies to guide state agencies to align capital and noncapital plans, programs, and procedures with local places and plans. The plan consists of three prints, or interactive maps, that will help state agencies and local jurisdictions focus limited resources most efficiently and effectively; the AgPrint and the GreenPrint will be used to target land preservation efforts, and the GrowthPrint focuses on revitalization and redevelopment.

The goals for PlanMaryland include channeling residential and business development to existing communities, identifying and preserving critical agricultural, water, and natural and living resources, and minimizing the spread of dispersed low density residential development.

Public review and comments on the draft plan are available until September 1. After the feedback is reviewed, the draft will be revised and turned in to the Governor in October.

Secretary Hall’s presentation.

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