GMP looks toward power grid of the future

RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) A first-of-its-kind program pioneered by a Vermont utility could make the electricity meters on your home obsolete. Our Cat Viglienzoni found out how it works.

If you own a home in Vermont, you have a meter on the side tracking your energy use. But under a new program announced Tuesday by Green Mountain Power, you wouldn't need it anymore.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: Are we talking about this going away entirely?
Mary Powell/GMP CEO: We're talking about all of this vanishing.

Powell says they are leading the way, filing a patent to protect technology they developed.

"This is a really big deal," Powell said. "Ultimately, it is really about potentially upending the traditional utility model."

It works through Tesla Powerwall batteries. In addition to storing energy, they also track a home's energy use. Powell says that was their "aha! moment." Why not replace meters with batteries that would also keep the lights on during power outages?

"Even the smartest meter of the smart meters can't keep your home powered when the lines go down," Powell said.

To test it, they enlisted GMP employee Chris Powell-- no relation to his boss-- who already had a Powerwall setup. He says he's excited to see the transformation.

"Meters have been around since 1895 but it will be really wonderful to sort of get rid of them," Chris Powell said.

And he says most importantly, the numbers match.

"The metering in the wall has proved to be as accurate as the meter that we use outside," he said.

Customers who join GMP's "Resilient Home" program would pay $30 a month for two Powerwalls that would act as a meter and backup power for the home. GMP says it's one way to get more of their customers using home energy storage.

"Really, it's about operating the grid of the future," Mary Powell said.

Space is limited right now in the pilot program to 500 customers: 250 who get their Powerwalls from Green Mountain Power and 250 who get them through other renewable energy providers in Vermont.

Click here for more on the Resilient Home pilot program.

Click here for more on GMP's Bring Your Own Device program.

Click here to find a Vermont Powerwall retailer.