DETROIT, Oct. 27, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – DTE Energy today announced it has been awarded a nearly $84 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant that will allow the company to move forward with its SmartCurrents program, which will provide customers with improved electric service reliability, the distribution of smart appliances and ways to control and reduce energy consumption and costs.
The DOE funding through the federal economic stimulus program will be matched by the company and its technology partners, bringing the total investment to accelerate the program to nearly $170 million.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is the technological backbone of the SmartCurrents program. DTE Energy already has piloted AMI in Grosse Ile and is installing the new meters on Harsen’s Island and in a portion of Bloomfield Township.
The program will serve as a platform to eliminate manual meter reading and provide remote monitoring of the electric distribution system, which will enable faster and more reliable power outage detection and restoration. DTE Energy also would have the ability to connect meters remotely.
The program also will enable customers to manage their bills by tracking their consumption and demand via the DTE Energy Web site.
“We’re extremely enthusiastic about our ability to offer the SmartCurrents program to our customers with the help of the DOE grant,” said Anthony F. Earley Jr., DTE Energy chairman and CEO. “We’re grateful to the DOE for recognizing the importance of our program. In addition, we commend Gov. Granholm, the Michigan Public Service Commission and the numerous legislators who endorsed this technology and grant during the application review process and for working to bring these dollars to Michigan.”
The SmartCurrents program, besides advanced metering technology, includes Smart Circuit and Smart Home technologies. Smart Home would provide different pricing levels to incentivize off-peak electrical usage, web-based customer energy usage presentation and customer outage notification. In addition, certain “smart” appliances could communicate with DTE Energy to provide optimum energy savings.
As a result of the DOE funding, DTE Energy will have the opportunity to install nearly 700,000 new meters, offer Smart Home technology with in-home displays and high tech thermostats to 5,000 customers, and make improvements to 11 substations and 55 circuits over the next two years.
“We think this new technology will appeal to our customers as we begin to roll out new cost-efficient products and services designed to make their lives easier and more affordable,” Earley said. “Just as important are the economic benefits that will be derived through employment opportunities and supply chain purchasing in Michigan.”
Meter installation work over the next two years will be in portions of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Lapeer, Ingham and Tuscola counties on a community-by-community basis.
As the program implementation proceeds, every electric meter in Southeast Michigan would be replaced with solid-state meters and every gas meter would be modified with an advanced metering module. Customers will be notified when meter changes are scheduled in their communities during the next several years.
DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, coal and gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com.
Source: DTE Energy
CONTACT: Scott Simons, +1-313-235-8808, Lorie N. Kessler, +1-313-235-8807
Web Site: http://www.dteenergy.com