A Message from Our President
Gary Stockbridge - President, Delmarva Power Region
These days, many people are looking for ways to lower their energy use and save money. Some are buying smaller cars that get better gas mileage. Others are cashing in on energy tax credits for weatherizing their homes. Still others are replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. For anyone who remembers the energy crisis following the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, these are not new ideas. As Yogi Berra would say, "It's déjà vu all over again."
At Delmarva Power, we have unveiled a proposal to help our customers cope with rising energy prices driven by national and international trends that have raised 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.
These "smart meters" represent the next generation of electric meters. They take advantage of wireless technology to enable Delmarva Power to communicate with the electric meter in your home or business, enhancing reliability and giving customers options to control their energy use.
The proposal paves the way toward eventually connecting customers' equipment to the electric grid to allow technology in the appliances to "learn" the cost implications of when and how it is operating -- translating into savings for customers. These "smart meters" also provide for better reliability in the future. For example, the meters - in conjunction with automated equipment - will give Delmarva Power the ability to remotely identify the location of outages (without customers calling in), isolate the problem and reroute crews to speed restoration.
Along with advanced meters, we plan to offer state-of-the-art thermostats.
These "smart thermostats" will be able to communicate back to Delmarva Power 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.
In addition to offering programs that enable customers to take full advantage of smart meters, we propose a number of energy efficiency programs. For residential customers, we propose heating and air conditioning rebate programs, implementation of an Energy Star home performance program and promotion of compact fluorescent lighting. For commercial customers we will also offer programs focused on heating, air conditioning and lighting. Through rebates, training, education and awareness we will encourage more efficient use of electricity.
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 to the environment.
Indeed, our proposal suggests several other ways to improve the environment through energy policy ideas like using renewable energy sources, such as 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.
We realize that energy efficiency begins in our own backyard. PHI, Delmarva Power's parent company, currently is using biodiesel and ethanol blends to fuel a portion of its 2,000-vehicle fleet and is testing electric hybrid technology across all service territories.
PHI plans to continue to evaluate these and other technologies to increase the number of alternative fueled vehicles in its fleet.
PHI also has joined the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency Coalition, a broad-based group of utilities, environmental advocacy groups, State Utility Commissions and others, working together on environmental issues.
Our 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.