AEP To Enhance Smart Grid Technology

Sep 17, 2013

Columbus-based American Electric Power wants to install new equipment to enhance its smart grid technology.

Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.

Revamping equipment on the utility grid is supposed to improve reliability and efficiency. That’s the message from American Electric Power Ohio as they propose Phase 2 of their smart grid project.

Expanding the smart grid basically means AEP wants to upgrade their operations with high-tech equipment.

For example, Phase 2 would bring advanced metering to about 900,000 customers. These are meters that deliver real-time readings and customer usage information without a meter-reader visiting your house.

According to AEP… the other devices it plans to install would speed up restoration, cut down on outages, and improve energy efficiency.

Plans for Phase 2 have been submitted to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Approval would expand the smart grid technology to two-thirds of AEP’s customers… spreading from central Ohio to east and southeast Ohio.

The upgrade DOES come with a price. Under the proposal, the average AEP customer would pay about $2 more a month for the next five years. Terri Flora with AEP Ohio says this is a good investment for customers in the long run.

Flora: “We had a lot of different technologies that we had planned on testing and seeing how they work and throughout that project we figured out that these three rose to the top as to having the greatest benefit not only to AEP but to our customers in terms of reliability and information to help manage electricity.”

AEP hopes the PUCO will approve the proposal by the end of the year. It would then take about four years to completely install and implement Phase 2.