Smart meter price tag, timing may get trimmed

CenterPoint Energy is applying for $200 million in federal stimulus funding to speed up deployment of so-called “smart grid” technology, including the smart meters Houstonians are paying $3.24 per month for.
The application for funds from the U.S. Department of Energy will take two years off what was to be a five-year plan to install smart meters on 2.2 million area homes and businesses. It would cut the total amount customers will pay ($443.76 per customer total over 12-years) but CenterPoint says it doesn’t know exactly how much of a reduction we can expect.
The Dallas-area electric grid operator, Oncor, is also applying for $200 million to speed along smart grid installation, and another $117 million “for network equipment to support the meters and equipment to improve system reliability.”
The funds are coming from the $4.5 billion share of the Department of Energy’s $38.7 billion chunk of stimulus funding. CenterPoint has details on the meter installations, including detailed maps of when the meters will be installed in specific neighborhoods.