BERLIN, Connecticut – March 25, 2009 – In the largest customer-focused pilot of its kind in North America to date, 3,000 Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) customers will take part in CL&P’s Plan-It Wise Energy Program, a voluntary rate pilot program to test residential, commercial and industrial customers’ interest in and response to peak time-based energy rates and smart meters. The pilot program, approved by Connecticut’s Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC), is scheduled to run from June 1 through August 31, 2009. CL&P will use findings from the pilot to determine if time-based rates influence customers' energy usage patterns.
"There's heightened interest to begin the development of a nationwide digitized smart grid that will improve energy efficiency and renewable energy management," said Raymond P. Necci, president, CL&P. "Smart meters are key components of a smart grid which is why this test in Connecticut is so important."
Some 1,500 commercial and industrial customers from throughout CL&P's service territory are participating. The other 1,500 are residential customers from the cities of Hartford and Stamford. Nearly 160,000 CL&P customers were randomly contacted through a direct mail campaign to determine if they were interested in being part of the pilot program. Of those that responded, the 3,000 participants were chosen after being screened and meeting certain qualifications.
All customers in the pilot will use smart meters, which will measure their electricity usage in one-hour intervals. These smart meters are part of a system that will collect and transmit information about customer electricity usage to CL&P, and then back to the customer via a two-way wireless network. Some participants have been randomly selected to also receive either a smart thermostat or a control switch, which allows CL&P to turn their air conditioner on and off during predetermined periods of time to help the customer manage their electricity usage; or an energy orb, which alerts the customer of a change in electric rates by changing color, thereby giving the customer the ability to adjust their energy usage.
“This is a very exciting time for us," said Jessica B. Cain, CL&P's Plan-It Wise Energy Program director. "Peak time is weekdays between noon and 8 p.m. and typically, the price for power is at its highest during those hours. There are economic, environmental and electrical system benefits to be gained by using less energy during peak times. We hope to learn from this pilot if our customers will change their peak time energy usage in response to clear price differences during peak times and the use of the smart technology."
CL&P is working with a third-party vendor, Accenture, to manage the pilot. CL&P will be reporting pilot results and making recommendations to the DPUC at the end of 2009.
REPORTERS/EDITORS/PHOTOGRAPHERS NOTE: Connecticut Light & Power and Northeast Utilities invite you to visit the SmartGridCity mobile exhibit, courtesy of Accenture:
Come see how the electric power grid could be transformed in Connecticut.
Thursday, March 26
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
State Capital Grounds Parking Lot (next to Bushnell Park), Hartford
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The Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) has been part of everyday life in Connecticut for more than 100 years, providing safe and reliable electric service to homes, neighborhoods and businesses. With 1.2 million customers in 149 cities and towns, CL&P is an active member in the communities it serves, offering programs in energy conservation, economic development and environmental stewardship. CL&P is part of the Northeast Utilities System (NYSE: NU). For more information, please visit www.cl-p.com.