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BGE To Start Installing 'Smart Meters' In May

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- BGE is getting ready to put its smart grid program into action.

Monique Griego  has more on how the utility hopes modernizing its meters will end up saving customers money.

Conserving energy costs is a big concern for most homeowners.

"It's important to save money. With the economy we have today, we gotta do everything," said Linda Thompson, homeowner.

BGE hopes to help customers like Linda Thompson save money by installing new "smart meters" as part of its smart grid program.

"This is going to help us do what our customers have been asking us to do for a long time: help them become more energy efficient and help them save money," said Rob Gould, BGE.

Starting in May, crews will go house-to-house switching out 1.3 million electrical meters for new digital ones.They'll also be upgrading around 700,000 gas meters.

"This is the first time it gives us a two-way connectivity to the meter," said Gould.

BGE says the process of switching these old meters for new ones only takes a few minutes so there really won't be any lengthy interruptions in service.

Unlike the old meters, "smart meters" will allow customers to track their usage in "real time" so they have more control over their bill.

Gould says it will also increase the utility's response to outages.

"This will allow us to pinpoint with great accuracy which customers are in service and which are out," said Gould.

The smart grid transformation is expected to take three years and cost $482 million, $200 million of which was paid for through a federal grant.

Thompson says she's just hoping for a smooth transition.

"I don't like changes myself at all. I like the way it is right now and it's fine. But you gotta keep up with the times," said Thompson.

BGE crews will begin putting in smart meters in May in Anne Arundel County. Baltimore City installations won't start until next year.

A letter is being sent out Monday to all customers.

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