EPB Awarded $111 Million Grant For Smart Grid

DePriest: Chattanooga Will Become The Electric System Of The Future

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EPB has been awarded $111 million in federal stimulus funding from the Department of Energy to expedite the build out of the electric system Smart Grid, officials said Tuesday.

Harold DePriest, EPB president, said, "With this grant, Chattanooga has the opportunity to become the electric system of the future."

He said it had been planned to complete the Smart Grid over a 10-year period, but with the federal funds it can be done in three years.

Mr. DePriest said EPB already has spent $143 on its Smart Grid and will spend a total of about $300 million.

The grant, which was sought by over 400 national utilities, will not only speed up the Smart Grid build out but will help EPB add more points of automation on the electric system and provide smart meters to every electric power customer’s home in their service area, officials said.

EPB set a 1:30 p.m. press conference to give more details about the grant.

EPB is using the Smart Grid, among other purposes, to go into the cable TV business.

The city-owned utility is currently rolling out the TV offering to a growing number of local customers in competition with Comcast as well as satellite TV.

Mr. DePriest said EPB plans to place "smart meters" at all its 170,000 customers and also place about 2,000 "smart switches" along its lines.

He said, "We will make 5,000 homes 'smart homes" to study the best use of home energy.

Mr. DePriest said future electric pricing will be based not only on the amount used, but on the time used. He said electricity used during the daytime will cost more.

He stated, "If we can use energy more intelligently in terms of the time of day, we can all save money.

"Intelligent use of energy is becoming a major issue. This puts us a little bit ahead in that area."

Mr. DePriest said the Smart Grid "will allow us to keep our system reliable and to restore outages more quickly."

Joe Ferguson, EPB board chairman, said, "This is wonderful news. We are constantly looking for ways to improve service."

Mayor Ron Littlefield said, "It's great that once again our city is on the leading edge. We were one of only 100 recipients of this grant funding."

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