Old News Archive

Bangor Hydro Electric Company Submits Application for Federal Smart Grid Stimulus Funds

August 18, 2009 - TRC - By Susan E. Faloon, Communications Officer Bangor Hydro-Electric Company

Bangor, ME – Bangor Hydro Electric Company submitted an application for federal stimulus funding to bring Smart Grid advancements to its electricity customers. Bangor Hydro is requesting $4.3 million in grant funding for its proposed $8.8 million Smart Grid project.

More than $3 billion will be awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy in a competitive process for Smart Grid investments. The grants will fund up to 50 percent of the qualifying projects.

“Smart Grid investment is increasing at a rapid pace in the United States, due in large part to recent US Economic Stimulus Funds,” said Kim Wadleigh, Vice President of Distribution Operations, Information, and Support Services. “These funds will make it possible for Bangor Hydro to accelerate its plans to equip customers with the tools and information to make better-informed decisions about their electricity consumption and how to better manage their total energy bills.”

If awarded funds, Bangor Hydro will be implementing rate trials that involve dynamic supply pricing for participating customers. Those who participate in these trial projects will be able to view their electricity usage through a web portal or select in-home display equipment and manage costs by lowering electricity consumption during peak pricing time periods.

According to Gradon Haehnel, Manager of Rates, customers who participate in the dynamic supply rate trial will see higher prices during peak time periods and lower prices during off-peak time periods. “We believe that our customers will shift their electricity usage to off-peak time periods to take advantage of lower cost supply prices, and conserve more electricity when they have detailed information about how their individual electric appliances or circuits are actually using electricity. There is a lot at stake here with significant opportunities for savings,” said Haehnel.

“An additional benefit to lower off-peak pricing,” noted Haehnel, “is the opportunity to use new electric technologies for home heating. These new efficient technologies can play a significant role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.” He said that in Maine approximately 80 percent of homes heat with oil. As a result, Maine has the highest carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the US. Because Maine’s electricity supply portfolio is heavily weighted with renewable power, electric heating technologies combined with proper home weatherization will play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. “Home heating alternatives are really developing as a vibrant and competitive marketplace in Maine and we believe that new electric technologies, such as heat pumps and thermal storage, will not only allow customers to lower their overall heating costs, but also reduce their respective carbon footprint, “ says Haehnel.

If approved, Bangor Hydro’s project is expected to be completed over the next three years.

Bangor Hydro-Electric Company (BHE) is an electric utility wholly-owned by Emera Inc. BHE serves a population of 192,000 in an area encompassing 5,275 square miles in eastern and east coastal Maine. BHE is a member of the New England Power Pool and is interconnected with other New England utilities to the south and with the New Brunswick Power Corp. to the north. Visit us at www.bhe.com.

Emera Inc. (EMA-TSX) is an energy and services company with $4.7 billion in assets. Electricity is Emera's core business. The company has two wholly-owned regulated electric utility subsidiaries, Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Bangor Hydro-Electric Company, which together serve 600,000 customers. Emera also owns 19% of St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited, which serves more than 50,000 customers on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and 25% of Grand Bahama Power Company which serves 19,000 customers on the Caribbean island of Grand Bahama. In addition to its electric utility investments, Emera has a joint venture interest in Bear Swamp, a 600 megawatt pumped storage hydro-electric facility in northern Massachusetts; a 12.9% interest in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline; a 7.4% interest in Open Hydro and Emera Energy Services which manages energy assets on behalf of third parties. Visit Emera on the web at www.emera.com.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.