OG&E is investing in a new technology to help customers more efficiently manage energy use and costs to fit their lifestyles. It also helps OG&E offer even more reliable service in a cost effective manner and to maintain reasonable rates.
OG&E calls this our Positive Energy® Smart Grid program.
It uses a secure wireless network for two-way communication between smart meters installed on the outside of customer homes and businesses and OG&E for billing and service purposes. In the very near future smart meters will also be able to communicate with smart devices or appliances in the home or business to provide customers with information anytime about how much energy they are using and the cost of that energy.
While we believe smart grid technology is the foundation for the future for our industry, we are carefully identifying how it can best benefit our customers and our company.
The first step was a study begun in the summer of 2008, involving 6,600 smart meters installed in northwest Oklahoma City. We are able to remotely read customers’ meters and connect and disconnect service. About 25 of those customers have touch-screen information panels and communicating programmable thermostats in their homes, allowing them to see what electricity is costing each hour of the day so they can make informed decisions about their electricity use.
Our next step in 2010 is installation of 42,000 smart meters on customer homes in Norman, Okla., and the installation of the information delivery infrastructure to carry the information to and from the customers and OG&E. An estimated 3,000 Norman customers will be asked to participate in a study in the summer of 2010 and 2011 using in-home devices and/or Internet portals as a means to get electricity pricing and usage information.
OG&E received notice October 27, 2009, that its application for $130 million in smart grid stimulus funds has been approved, pending final negotiations with the Department of Energy. The company will seek state regulatory approval for recovery of the remaining costs of the $300 million-plus deployment across its entire service territory over the next three-five years.
At the same time we’re working with our employees and knowledgeable industry partners on a plan to expand smart grid to customers in our entire 30,000 square mile service territory.