4:47pm

Wed April 20, 2011
Business

Poudre Valley REA Announces Enhancements, Smart Meter Technology

Thousands of utility customers in rural communities across Weld, Larimer and Boulder counties will soon take advantage of smart meter technology. It’s thanks in part to a $43 million loan that the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted on Wednesday to Poudre Valley REA.

The USDA’s Rural Utilities Service wants to modernize the electrical grid serving customers outside of more established urban areas. Last year alone it offered $6.6 billion in loan guarantees for 174 rural electric projects nationwide.

Poudre Valley REA CEO Brad Gaskill says the organization will use the money for a host of changes including line upgrades, with $7 million going toward smart metering technology.

“With the smart grid technology, it will provide us with enhanced reliability, it’s going to give us operational efficiencies [and] reduce outage times,” he said.

The smart meters will provide energy users with real time information about their energy use. Gaskill was on hand Wednesday for a ceremony with USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein. He says these kinds of upgrades are important because they’ll increase efficiency.

“We have this aging grid in this country for electricity. If we can modernize it, it actually reduces some of the drag,” he said. “So we don’t have to use as much electricity.”

The improvements will be made over the next four years.