President Obama Announces $3 billion in grant money for residential smart meters

10/27/2009 10:02:22 PM



(Somers, NY) ~ Over the past 5 years Westchester County Legislator and Vice-Chairman of the Board Michael Kaplowitz (D, I – Somers) has repeatedly lobbied for smart meters on behalf of residential ratepayers – including at the state level in Albany and before the New York City Council, an initiative today reinforced by President Obama in a press conference where the President announced $3 billion in grant funding for residential smart meter installation.


“‘Smart meters’ offer consumers the ‘three E’s; economic advantage, environmental benefit and energy efficiency,” Kaplowitz said. “Imagine there’s a gas station where it normally costs $4.00 per gallon but if you go after 11 PM, it’s only $2.00 per gallon. Wouldn’t you want the option to go out at 11 PM to save money on a commodity you use so much of? It’s all about providing the rate payers with a choice.”  Kaplowitz, a certified financial planner and immediate past chair of the legislature’s Budget & Appropriations Committee, continued by saying this will also create jobs and stimulate the local economy.


According to Kaplowitz, technology known as ‘smart meters’ has been available, although residential consumers have not been able to elect to have a ‘smart meter’ installed in their homes. “Smart Meters” are home energy monitoring systems that enable ratepayers to see their “real time usage” along with the corresponding “real time prices” in 15-minute intervals. Smart meters also have the ability, in the event of an outage, to automatically notify the power company of a power outage without the consumer having to report it.  “Consumers deserve choice. Individual home energy meters and real-time pricing would not only provide ratepayers with a choice, but would revolutionize electricity consumption by saving consumers real dollars and conserving energy, which, in turn, contributes to a cleaner environment.”


In October 2005, Kaplowitz, the immediate past chair of the Environment & Energy Committee, led the County Board in calling on the Public Service Commission to permit residential “smart meters,” enabling consumers to take advantage of “real time pricing.”  “Under the current system you pay an average of the various prices of a watt for each of the 24 hours.  What we want is to have consumers benefit from the lower, off-peak rates that keep that average down during the day and have the information available to them so they can make choices when the rates are high.  That’s the benefit of RTP,” Kaplowitz said.