Boston, MA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- January 18, 2008 - Smart meters and smart grids are set to come to Massachusetts, under a new energy plan approved last week by the state Senate’s Ways and Means Committee.

The plan calls for each electric distribution company, by September 1, 2008, to file a proposed plan with the department of public utilities to establish a 6-month pilot program for a smart grid that utilizes the electric delivery system, advanced (“smart”) meters, and other advanced technology to operate an integrated grid network communication system in a limited geographic area. Each smart grid pilot program shall include, but not be limited to advanced meters that provide real time measurement and communication of energy consumption, implementation of phone and e-mail notification systems to warn those customers of high prices so they can reduce their usage accordingly, automated load management systems embedded within current demand side management programs and remote status detection and operation of distribution system equipment.

In addition the distribution companies are required to file proposals to implement 6-month pilot programs that require time-of-use or hourly pricing for commodity service for a minimum of 0.5 percent of their customers. These filings must include proposals for the rate treatment of incremental program costs, and their objective is to reduce the participating customers’ peak loads by a minimum of 5 per cent.

The plan requires that these pilot proposals will be reviewed and approved or modified by January 1, 2009. Then following the completion of the pilots, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs must submit a report to the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy no later than February 1, 2010 detailing their operation and results, as well as assessment of their value to both participants and non-participants and recommendations concerning their modification or expansion and further deployment and implementation.

The energy plan is aimed at generating renewable energy and promoting efficiency and as such, it is declared “an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public safety and convenience.”