FirstEnergy's Metropolitan Edison Co. will deploy direct load control technology using a smart grid software platform and distributed energy resource management application. Met-Ed expects voluntary participation by 20,000 to 24,000 residential customers to deliver more than 30 MW of peak load reduction as a part of its overall energy efficiency program. Customers who choose to participate in what is called the EasyGreen program will receive an incentive payment for each year of participation, in addition to saving money on their electric bill.

The project is approved by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Smart Grid Investment Grant awarded to FirstEnergy in October 2009. Under the terms of the contract, Met-Ed will deploy technology from BPL Global that enables integrated management of renewable generation, energy storage and customer load as smart grid resources. The program is designed to support the efficiency, reliability and conservation goals of PA Act 129 enacted in 2008.

The Power SG iDER solution from BPL Global is the core technology enabling Met-Ed to more efficiently manage customer owned central air conditioning systems during peak periods. It provides 100% verification of connected load reduction with nearly twice the effective yield compared to conventional demand management solutions, delivering an average of 1.4 kW per connected residential air conditioning load. In addition to measuring actual load reduction, the system returns detailed metrics at the customer premise level including voltage, current, active power, reactive power, power factor and frequency. This additional data adds valuable information to enhance advanced smart grid applications such as Volt/VAR control, distribution automation, outage management and outage restoration systems.

The system includes Power SG Foundation software that serves as an enterprise-class Integrated Control Platform. The ICP enables cross-collaboration between smart grid applications from generation through customer premises and provides a value multiplying effect as other smart grid applications are added to the system. In addition to direct load control, the ICP can also be used to support the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) and other smart grid applications. The value multiplying effect is accomplished with the ability of all applications on the ICP to share data and information.

The technology allows real-time management of the energy delivery system and its load based on the changing conditions of the distribution network. By incorporating historical data and detailed local weather forecasts, this system improves capacity and load prediction capabilities while simultaneously managing customer load.