National Grid renews Syracuse smart grid proposal

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- National Grid is back with a $123 million proposal to install new high-tech electric meters at 39,400 homes and businesses in the Syracuse area in an effort to demonstrate the value of a next-generation “smart grid.”

The proposal, which requires approval from state regulators before moving forward, would be paid for by increasing National Grid rates throughout the utility’s Upstate territory. For an average residential customer, the project would raise the monthly bill by nearly 50 cents, said Patrick Stella, speaking for the utility.

This is the utility’s second attempt to get such a project off the ground. National Grid won approval in July from the state Public Service Commission for the same project combined with a similar pilot program in the Saratoga region, but failed to win a federal grant that was expected to pay half the cost. In this proposal, National Grid has dropped the Saratoga project and proposes to pay the entire cost with ratepayer money.

Smart grids combine high-tech equipment at the customer site with sophisticated equipment on the utility network to provide both customers and utility operators with real-time information and two-way communication.

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