By Business First of Louisville

Duke Energy will go back to Indiana regulators this week, seeking approval of a scaled-down proposal for smart grid operations in that state.

Smart-grid technology allows utilities to send signals to specially equipped appliances over transmission lines. The signals enable the utilities to tell the appliances to operate using less power during peak consumption times.

In November, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission shot down Duke's initial $450 million proposal for a complete rollout of the digital, interactive technology across the state.

The commission said there were no demonstrable benefits for customers.

Now, says SNL Energy, Duke is back with a much smaller, $22 million proposal Duke has gone from proposing installing 800,000 smart meters over six years trying the system with 40,000 meters over about a year.

The company will collect data for a year after that. It then hopes to be able to demonstrate to regulators in the state that the program should be implemented statewide.

Ohio regulators have approved a full scale smart-grid plan for Duke. The company does not expect to implement smart-grid operations in the Carolinas until about 2017, after the Midwest operations are in place.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), based in Charlotte, N.C., includes the former Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co., Union Light, Heat and Power in Kentucky, and PSI Energy in Indiana. The company also operates Duke Power in the Carolinas. Duke serves customers in Floyd, Clark, Harrison and Washington counties in Southern Indiana.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010