Dominion Virginia Power applies for $200 million in stimulus funds for “smart meters”

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Dominion Virginia Power wants to hasten the installment of “smart meters” in Virginia with a little help from the government. The company said today that it has applied for $200 million in federal stimulus funds from the U. S. Department of Energy.

If granted, the money would allow Dominion to have smart meters installed throughout the state by the end of 2012, a year ahead of schedule. Such meters give consumers the benefit of time-based rates, with opportunities to shift electricity use to off-peak times.

The grant also would help retain or create nearly 700 jobs and speed up environmental benefits, the company said in a statement.

Dominion announced its smart meter initiative last month as part of an energy conservation plan filed with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission. It says the plan could save customers $1.2 billion over 15 years through energy savings and the deferral or elimination of the need to construct some power stations. The application calls for the utility to install about 2.5 million smart meters. If the DOE application is approved, it would cut installation costs by $600 million, according to Dominion.

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