OG&E installing 1,000 smart meters each day

Customers can tailor usage to save money
BY SUSAN SIMPSON Modified: November 18, 2010 at 12:54 am •  Published: November 18, 2010
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Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. is installing about 1,000 high-tech meters each day as it works to expand its smart grid system to all 780,000 customers, said CEO Pete Delaney.

About 165,000 meters now are installed, he said Wednesday during the Creativity World Forum in Oklahoma City.

“A transformation of the electric utility is under way,” Delaney said. “We are going to put the power in your hands.”

OG&E will spend up to $366 million by the end of 2012 to install smart meters to help customers reduce their electricity bills by tailoring energy use to avoid peak hours, when power is more expensive.

About $127 million of that tab will be covered by federal stimulus funds.

Customers are not required to change their usage patterns, but if 20 percent did, it would save enough electricity to eliminate the need for two new power plants, a savings of $400 million, Delaney said.

“The key to this is changing our behavior as consumers of energy,” he said.

He said OG&E has committed to not building any new plants until at least 2020.

The new meters also will alert OG&E of power outages so that customers don't have to call in service interruptions, said Scott Lang, CEO of Silver Spring Network, which makes the meter technology for OG&E.

The smart grid technology will cost the average residential customer about $1.57 a month over the next 3 1/2, but energy company officials have noted that will be offset this year by a $10 a month reduction in fuel costs.

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