Duke Energy is planning to install so-called smart power meters in 775 thousand homes in Indiana.
Duke plans to temporarily reduce rates and then increase them by 5.5% in five years.
Spokesperson Lew Middleton says the money will go toward power meters that allow homes to communicate with the power company with information about energy consumption and events such as blackouts.
“Right now, that two-way communication does not exist in any form,” he says. “As a matter of fact, the electric grid is so dumb—if you will—that when the power goes out at your home, you have to call your power company and let them know.”
The company will also request federal stimulus funds for part of the project. The plan is contingent on approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which could hold hearings on the matter this summer. Middleton says if it’s approved, the project could be completed in five to six years.