Priya Lopes on 07 1, 2011
Utility Plan Focuses on Customer Benefits of the Future Smart Grid
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today shared its vision for the Smart Grid and a broad plan for modernizing its electric infrastructure to deliver a host of energy and cost savings to PG&E customers across Northern and Central California.
“We developed this plan with a clear focus on what our customers want and value,” said PG&E President Christopher P. Johns. “Our plan is a new vision for providing customers with safe, clean, affordable and reliable service and promoting new growth opportunities for green jobs and businesses in California.”
The utility provided its Smart Grid plan in response to a requirement by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made last year to each of the state’s investor-owned utilities. PG&E’s plan includes future projects that will take advantage of a wide range of advanced communications, computing, sensing and control technologies. PG&E will integrate these diverse technologies to improve service and reliability, lower customer costs and incorporate more renewable energy onto the grid.
PG&E’s customers can expect to see many benefits from the Smart Grid in the coming years, including the ability to lower energy bills by controlling energy use. Today, using SmartMeter™ technology, customers already can view hourly electricity use online up to the previous day, to help them understand how and when they use energy. In the future, as part of PG&E’s plan to enable new consumer energy management capabilities, pricing signals will help customers save money by shifting their energy use to times of the day when energy prices are lower.
Customers will also enjoy increased reliability of service, including faster outage detection and restoration. As one of its key projects to this end, PG&E plans to deploy automated Smart Grid equipment on its distribution facilities to locate, isolate and help repair system faults.
PG&E’s Smart Grid projects will also support more widespread customer adoption of rooftop solar as well as “smart charging” programs that encourage the use of zero-emission electric vehicles while helping protect the safety and reliability of the energy grid.
As part of the regulatory process to seek input on its plan, PG&E has been benchmarking its Smart Grid activities and vision with the Environmental Defense Fund, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electric Power Research Institute and other major California utilities, as well as the GridWise Alliance, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.
“The Smart Grid is an evolving goal that will require careful planning, piloting, phased implementation and customer engagement to realize its tremendous potential value,” said Johns. “Going forward, we will consider it a privilege to serve our customers by bringing them these and other new energy innovations.”
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.