Charlottesville is first Virginia city to get “smart meters”

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Mr. Jefferson’s college town just got a lot smarter.  Charlottesville is the first city in Virginia and one of the first in the country to receive “smart” meters as part of a conservation program being rolled out by Dominion Virginia Power.

Company executives, joined by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and University of Virginia President John Casteen, unveiled the $20 million SmartGrid Charlottesville program today. More than half of a projected 46,500 smart meters have been installed in the city and adjoining Albemarle County. The rest of the meters will be installed by the end of the year.

“This program launches a new era in energy efficiency and customer empowerment for Virginia,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion. Smart meters are designed to provide the option of time-based rates, giving customers the opportunity to use electricity during cheaper, off-peak times.

Charlottesville was selected because of its mix of customers and the area’s hilly terrain. It provides a test of the two-way wireless communications capabilities of smart meters. Pending regulatory approval, Dominion plans to install smart meters throughout its service area over the next few years. According to the company, smart-grid technology has the potential to save more than $1 billion in fuel savings over the next 15 years, which could potentially void the need for two future power stations.



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