A Message from Our President
Thomas H. Graham - President, Pepco Region
As you know, the United States and the world are facing two critical energy challenges: the rising cost of energy and the impact of energy use on the environment. Pepco is eager to play a leadership role in helping its customers meet both of these challenges. Our customers have told us that these issues – rising energy prices and the environment – are important to them. We agree.
Recently, Pepco unveiled its proposal for helping our customers cope with rising energy prices driven by national and international trends that have driven up the cost of coal, oil, and natural gas—the primary fuels used to generate electricity. The proposal builds on many of the ideas that have been around since the 1970s with one very important twist: it uses the latest technology to make those ideas even more effective.
That new technology takes the form of a device often referred to as a “smart meter.” In our proposal, we lay out plans to install “smart meters” for all our customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
“Smart meters” represent the next generation of electric meters. They take advantage of wireless technology to enable Pepco to communicate with the electric meter in your home or business, enhancing reliability and giving customers options to control their energy use.
Investment in Technology
The proposal paves the way toward eventually connecting both the home's electric meter and the appliances running to it to the power grid so the customer is more aware of what it costs to use electricity during certain times of the day. With this new technology, customers will be more inclined to participate in utility programs aimed at using less electricity during times when it is most expensive. This translates into savings for customers. “Smart meters” also provide for better reliability in the future. For example, the meters – in conjunction with automated equipment – will give Pepco the ability to remotely identify the location of outages (without customers calling in), isolate the problem, and reroute crews to speed restoration. Another advantage to the new meters is the elimination of estimated bills,
Along with advanced meters, we plan to offer state-of-the-art thermostats. These “smart thermostats” will be able to communicate back to Pepco and allow customers to save money by altering when they use their heating and air conditioning – the primary drivers of energy in the home today. Customers will have the option of signing up for this technology.
Some aspects of our proposal have already received approval in the state of Maryland, beginning with a three-year program for customers to be able to purchase compact fluorescent light bulbs at a discount at select retail outlets.
In the future, there will be additional rebate programs and incentives launched in Maryland aimed at encouraging our customers to use energy more wisely than they do today. When coupled with “smart meters” and “smart thermostats,” such programs will give customers the latest tools to manage their energy use and save money. They also offer a means for us to limit our dependence on foreign energy sources and cut down on the impact our energy use has on the environment.
Indeed, our proposal suggests several other ways to improve the environment through energy policies, such as using renewable energy sources (i.e. wind and solar power) to generate electricity or finding ways to make electric vehicles more user-friendly. That said, one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the environment is to use less electricity in the first place. Customers save on energy bills, and we all save our share of paying for new power plants.
Pepco's plan takes advantage of new technologies for our customers to use, often without having to think about it. We have a vision of what the energy future looks like, and we look forward to working collaboratively on reaching that vision for a cleaner, greener environment.