Aug 15, 2010 3:00 PM by Chris Welty
PINEVILLE, La. (AP) - Cleco Corp.'s 277,000 customers will have
a better idea of where their energy budget is going once "smart"
meters are installed, President and Chief Executive Officer Mike
The Pineville-based utility wants to put $52.9 million of its
own money and a $20 million federal stimulus grant from the U.S.
Department of Energy into the meters.
"This is really exciting new technology," Madison said.
The Energy Department approved the grant in May. Now the company
is waiting for word from the Louisiana Public Service Commission,
which was sent an application on June 9.
The meters are designed to keep track of daily usage. That means
that if someone thinks a bill is too high, service representatives
can show them which days their usage spiked.
"The consumer will be able to monitor their usage, and we can
give them real-time pricing," Madison said.
They also send signals during power outages, helping to identify
the cause and showing which customers don't have power once it is
restored to an area.
If the Advanced Metering Infrastructure project is approved,
company officials expect it to be completed in the first quarter of
In the meantime, Cleco is evaluating the kind of technology it
would use in the smart meters, including vendor proposals for
software, hardware and services.
Cleco has experimented with similar technology in a pilot