Smart meters saved Florida Power & Light Co. more than $46 million in operational costs and helped to keep bills low in 2015, the company said Monday.
“We have made remarkable strides in our ability to monitor and manage the electric system today compared to just a few years ago,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “The smart meters on homes and businesses, together with thousands of intelligent devices installed on our poles and wires, provide unprecedented visibility across the grid, allowing FPL to detect and prevent many issues before they become problems for our customers.”
In 2010 Juno Beach-based FPL began modernizing its system by investing $800 million in smart meters and other technology, with $200 million of that from a U.S. Department of Energy grant. Customers are paying for the improvements in their bills.
FPL has installed more than 4.8 million smart meters and expects to complete installations for the remaining 2,000 commercial and industrial customers in 2017.
In 2014 smart grid operational savings of more than $30 million were realized.
For the years 2012 through 2015, FPL had about 200,000 fewer restoration field visits, avoiding costs such as dispatching trucks.
Smart meters can be read remotely, and power connects and disconnects can also be done remotely. Response time is also faster when outages occur.
As of December 31, 6,341 customers were enrolled in a smart meter opt-out program. They pay an $89 enrollment fee and $13 monthly surcharge. FPL said the program generated more than $2.2 million, but costs more than $4.5 million to operate.
Some customers experienced meter enclosure problems after smart meters were installed. This year FPL will begin using new software that will allow it to share information with customers about the condition of their meter enclosures.