Friday, November 19, 2010

MLGW Residential Customers Enter the Smart Grid Era

The MLGW Smart Grid Demonstration is underway this week as MLGW meter technicians have begun installing 1,000 electric smart meters for residential customers who volunteered to be participants in a three-year demonstration project. These Smart Grid pioneers will test the effectiveness of smart meters and in home energy monitoring devices in helping customers to strategically reduce their consumption of electricity—resulting in a smaller bill every month.

The demonstration project has enlisted volunteers from nearly every ZIP code in Shelby County. MLGW technicians began the installation with customers in the 38128 ZIP code, which includes the Raleigh-Egypt area and portions of Frayser, and will continue the installations this Saturday in ZIP codes 38103, 38104, 38105, 38106, 38109, 38111, 38112, 38114, 38116, 38117, 38118, and 38126. The remaining Smart Grid participants in other Shelby County ZIP codes will have their meters installed on Saturdays in December. Participants will receive auto dialer calls and e-mails or letters this week informing them of the scheduled installations.

The demonstration project volunteers do not need to be at home when the installation occurs. The meter installation will cause a momentary power outage as the existing electric meter is removed and the new electric meter installed, so customers may need to reset digital clocks afterwards. The meter technician will ensure the meter is working and power is restored before leaving the property. The meter technician will leave a tag on the customer's front door upon departure to notify the customer that either the installation has been successful or that another visit will be necessary to complete the installation.

The 38128 ZIP code area was chosen for the initial installations because of the close proximity of the volunteers to MLGW’s Electric Meter department, which is located on Covington Pike. This strategy enabled MLGW staff and representatives from SmartSynch, the Jackson, Mississippi-based vendor, to monitor installation progress and quickly address any issues.

Some volunteer homes also were randomly selected to receive a free In-Home Display, which shows the home occupants the most current monthly figures concerning their energy use. Those displays will be delivered to MLGW in mid-December for programming before being given to the 500 selected households. Later this winter, several new features will be added to MLGW’s My Account Web service, allowing Smart Grid participants to view time-stamped electricity usage data, which will be uploaded daily. Installation for all 1,000 meters should be complete by the end of December, based on the vendor’s meter delivery projections.

Customers can join the 210,000 MLGW My Account customers by registering free at Read about MLGW Smart Grid updates at

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