DTE Energy Tuesday announced plans to install an additional 350,000 electric meters to provide the backbone for its SmartCurrents program, which will allow electric customers to communicate with the company, provide detailed information about their energy usage and recognize power outages without customer input.

The meters incorporate technology that will allow them to be read remotely and provide a wide range of benefits to customers, as well as operational savings through increased efficiencies to DTE Energy.

“Our SmartCurrents program gives us the tools to improve our service for both business and residential customers,” said Vince Dow, DTE Energy vice president of distribution operations. “This technology will allow us to quickly locate and reduce the length of power outages and other problems, virtually eliminate estimated bills through automated meter reading and remotely connect and disconnect service, which means faster, less intrusive service.”

The meter technology will serve as a platform that will provide remote monitoring of the electric distribution system and allow customers to better manage their energy usage and bills.

About 350,000 additional “smart” meters will be installed in 25 Oakland County communities starting in April. DTE Energy has installed about 250,000 meters so far in Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Commerce Township, Grosse Ile, Harsen’s Island and West Bloomfield Township, and in total, about 600,000 meters will be installed by early 2012.

The project is being funded, in part, through an $84 million U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant, which is a nationwide effort to improve the nation’s electrical grid. The grant, matched by DTE Energy, will enable the company to accelerate its deployment of Smart Grid technology.

Other electrical equipment will be installed to allow DTE Energy to remotely monitor the electrical system. Customers will benefit because the company will know, down to the individual meter, the extent of a power outage and how best to respond to that outage.

The SmartCurrents program will incorporate new technologies and products, besides advanced metering technology, such as “smart” appliances, thermostats and control units so customers can monitor their energy usage.

As a result of the DOE funding, DTE Energy will have the opportunity to offer technology with in-home displays and high tech thermostats to nearly 1,500 customers. Customers interested in signing up to receive program updates and information can go to smartcurrents.com.

DTE Energy will install new meters in these Oakland County communities over the next several months:

Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Clawson, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Franklin, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Northville, Novi, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Royal Oak Township, Southfield, Southfield Township, Troy, Walled Lake and Wixom.

DTE Energy’s operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 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 gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading.

More at www.dteenergy.com.

  1. Dawn S. says:

    DTE brought in workers from the Carolinas to do this work… How’s that for economic stimulus for Michigan’s economy? Not to mention, this process will result in the layoffs of all of the meter readers and customer service workers who will be out of jobs.

    Although there was no mention of the Clarkston/Independence Township area having been completed already, they already put my meter in and we talked to the guy doing the work.

    They can also shut off your service whenever they want (midnight of the day after your payment was due??)… It could lead to what they have in some areas of Alaska where they have to prepay for utilities…

    With a standard meter, all they can see is your usage since the last meter reading, with the new meters, they can start up tier pricing, charging you more for using power during “peak hours” that they establish.

    Their customer service representatives are misinformed about what functions these meters currently have, or will have, and how they communicate. They told me they were “satellite meters”, but they actually communicate via cell phone towers. They don’t realize it will mean the end to their jobs and they are also misinforming the public with their explanations.

    Wake up. This is not a benefit to us, this is another way to stick it to the public.

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