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The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved National Grid's smart grid pilot program. The project, pursuant to the Green Communities Act of 2008, includes approximately 15,000 customers in Worcester, or 1.2% of National Grid's electricity customers.

According to the DPU, the two-year pilot will test the ability of new technologies to reduce customer outages, save customers money by improving the operational efficiency of the grid, and fully integrate renewable energy and electric vehicles into the grid.

The pilot will also provide customers access to detailed energy usage information, enabled by advanced meters, which customers can access online or with cell phone apps. In addition, National Grid will test the impact of new pricing structures that reflect the changing costs of electricity, including higher costs at peak usage times, such as hot summer days, and lower costs at other times.

“National Grid’s smart grid pilot is designed to answer significant questions about how the reliability of the electric grid can be improved in the face of storms and other challenges, and about how customers can control their energy costs,” says DPU Chair Ann Berwick. “We look forward to pilot implementation, and to learning the lessons that will put us on a path to a completely modern electric infrastructure.”

The DPU notes the pilot program is not mandatory for customers in the project area.


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