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Apr 012009

From Green Right Now Reports

National Grid has announced it will file a plan today with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to build and operate a smart grid pilot in Worcester, Mass. The company said the pilot will involve about 15,000 customers and is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive in New England.

National Grid said the two-year pilot is the first step toward creating a more efficient, environmentally responsible modern grid. The project would provide customers with “improved energy use information, automation, and savings as well as an unprecedented amount of choice and control over how they use energy.” Another expected benefit of smart grid technology is better reliability of electric system.

The company said information learned from the pilot will be used in the future to develop a smart grid on a wider scale.

A smart grid is a network for electricity transmission and distribution systems that uses two-way, state-of-the-art communications, advanced sensors, and specialized computers to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of electricity delivery and use. Smart grids also provide environmental benefits by helping to reduce energy use during peak hours and facilitating the connection and addition of distributed generation facilities and renewables to the grid.

“Smart grid is the way of the future, and I’m glad to see National Grid proposing this pilot project for Worcester,” Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray said in a statement. “If the pilot moves forward as planned, consumers will get new ways to manage their energy use and find new ways to save money.”

Under the Massachusetts Commonwealth’s Green Communities Act, utilities are required to submit proposals and develop smart grid technologies.

National Grid said its pilot program will cover more than one percent of its Massachusetts customer base and includes a wide variety of customers – single and multi–family and small business — from urban, suburban and rural settings with variable electricity usage.