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Regulators approve use of 'smart' electric meters on Kauai

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:21 p.m. HST, Oct 4, 2011

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative welcomed a decision by state regulators clearing the way for KIUC to install “smart meters” that will allow it to monitor electricity usage of its customers remotely on a real-time basis.

The Public Utilities Commission last week approved the KIUC’s request to spend $6 million on the project. An additonal $5.9 million for the project will come from federal stimulus funds. The project is being done with the support of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

KIUC will be replacing about 33,000 electric meters with smart meters, along with an enhanced communications infrastructure that will allow two-way communications between those meters and KIUC. The technology will allow KIUC to conduct remote meter readings, detect outages at the household level, as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of load control and demand response systems.

“We are a small island grid and upgrading our electrical grid with smart meters and related technology can make our system more efficient and help integrate new smart appliances, electric cars, and other new and evolving technologies over the coming years,” said Mike Yamane, KIUC chief of operations and lead engineer on the project.

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