Florida’s largest electric utility has completed the installation of 4.5 million "smart meters," a project funded partly by $200 million in U.S. Dept. of Energy grants from the 2009 stimulus law.

Photo courtesy FPL
Florida Power and Light Co. recently completed the installation of 4.5 million smart meters, an effort funded partly by a $200-million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

In announcing the finalization of the smart grid enhancements, Juno Beach, Fla.-based Florida Power & Light Co. stated that it had invested $600 million in the effort, which aims to enhance the utility’s ability to monitor its electrical grid and to identify problems and outages more quickly.

"In 2009, we began the deployment of state-of-the-art smart grid technologies as part of our commitment to building a smarter, more reliable and more efficient electrical infrastructure," FPL President Eric Silagy said in a press statement.

"Situational awareness plays an important role in improving the reliability and resiliency of the grid," stated Patricia Hoffman, an assistant secretary with the DOE, who participated in a public ceremony commemorating the project’s completion, according to FPL.

The new smart meters will also allow customers to monitor their power usage remotely.

When President Obama announced the $3.4 billion in smart grid grants in 2009, he cited analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute that estimated that electricity use could be reduced by about 4 percent with the implementation of smart-grid technologies.

The announcement came just a week after FPL announced the completion of an estimated $3 billion in upgrades to two of its nuclear powerplants, Turkey Point and Saint Lucie. That effort—funded partly by more than $500 million in fees collected via the state of Florida’s nuclear cost-recovery law—added more than 500 MW of power to FPL’s system capacity.