The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved Duquesne Light's plan to install smart meters at its residential and business customers. Spokesman Joey Vallarian says over the next 30 months the company will do "an exhaustive study of technologies to find out what works best....start small pilot programs to take samples of what's going to work best....and of course, talk with our customers about what's working and what's not working."
Still, Vallarian says it will be 15 years before all 585,000 customers have smart meters installed...."it boils down to energy conservation...it gives them (customers) the opportunity to conserve energy but also save money by not doing certain things like wash dishes and clothes during peak hours when energy is more expensive.
Vallarian says the company will benefit because this will mean less strain on the system during peak hours especially during summer time. He added that the technology will provide consumers direct access to price and consumption information so that they know how much they are paying at any one hour.
Duquesne Light's proposal also included a cost recovery plan. The cost of the smart meter technology will be passed on to customers but according to Vallarian they will save money by reducing energy consumption by using the smart meters.