Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) will begin rolling out more than 800,000 “smart meters” across its 4,000-square-mile service area this week after successfully completing its smart metering systems testing program.
The next-generation electrical meters, which will be read remotely by PGE, will help the utility and its customers manage energy use, as well as enhance customer service and reduce operating expenses.
PGE began installing smart meters last year in selected test neighborhoods — urban and rural —before rolling them out territory-wide. The rest of the smart meters will be installed in an 18-month process slated for completion by late 2010.
“Systems testing went well and we are moving forward to complete the installation of smart meters for all of our customers,” said Jim Piro, president and CEO of PGE. “Smart meters will allow us to offer our customers better service and reduce our operating costs. Smart meters are also the foundation for future ‘smart grid’ and ‘smart home’ technology necessary to meet our customers’ future energy needs.”
The new meters, which communicate over a wireless network much like a cell phone system, will provide PGE with two-way communications to its residential and commercial meters, enabling many customer benefits:
The capital cost of the project is expected to be $130-135 million. The smart metering system, also known as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), was purchased from Sensus Metering. Residential and smaller business customer meters will be installed by Wellington Energy, PGE’s contract meter installer. PGE’s meter services will install meters for PGE’s mid-sized to large commercial customers.