Southern Company, which owns Georgia Power has applied for more than $360 million in stimulus money for new technology they’re already implementing. The move would trim their work force, which seems contrary to the purpose of the federal stimulus, but Southern Company says there’s a benefit to their customers and the environment.
They want the money to speed up their smart grid and smart meter programs. The smart grid will allow them to move energy more efficiently and cut waste. And the smart meter—already used in over a third of Georgia Power households— lets them read meters remotely and do away with meter readers, saving man power and vehicle miles.
That’s the environmental benefit, but spokesperson Terri Cohelas says there’s more. They’ll be able to relate to their customers how much energy they’re using and help them save via something called a home energy portal.
"It allows residents to log on to a website and view energy usage data and they can actually control it… if you were at work and we hit a peak and you forgot to lower your thermostat, you could do that while you were at work."
Cohelas says there are plans to do this regardless of stimulus funding, but getting the money means the feature would come to customers sooner.