Maryland Public Service Commission highlighted the political resistance smart-metering advocates must overcome when it shot down proposals for compulsory smart metering submitted by Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE).
Smart grids are essential for the Obama administration’s and power industry’s plan to meet rising electricity demand while integrating more renewable generation into the grid.
Creating flexibility on the demand side to match increased intermittency in supply is the only way to maintain reliability without having to build enormous amounts of expensive back-up gas-fired generating capacity and disfigure the landscape by installing thousands of miles of transmission lines.
BGE’s initiative has already been approved by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive $200 million of federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the centrepiece of the Obama administration’s stimulus package. It is one of the largest grants for electricity infrastructure made under the act. Of the total, $136 million would be spent on rolling out “advanced metering infrastructure” (AMI).
But BGE still needs approval from the state public service commission (PSC) for key elements of the system. The company’s proposals, as submitted to the commission, consist of three major components:
(1) Universal deployment of smart meters throughout BGE’s service territory, replacing or upgrading all existing customer electric and gas meters.