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New technology helps National Grid customers track energy usage

Mike Mokey from National Grid demonstrates technology that will help customers track their energy usage.
Jessica Cain
Mike Mokey from National Grid demonstrates technology that will help customers track their energy usage.

National Grid is putting into place new ways for you to control your energy usage.

At the company’s “demo house” on Wednesday, workers demonstrated a new app that provides information about where people are using power.

Mike Mokey, National Grid’s head of advanced metering infrastructure for New York, said not only can it track individual appliances, but it can also help find phantom power, which can make up nearly 10 percent of a home’s energy usage.

"Often it goes unrecognized,” Mokey said. “Customers feel as though they've turned something off; they've done the right thing. And largely, they have done the right thing. But those devices are still drawing power all the time."

The new technology is part of National Grid’s installation of smart meters. The company has already installed 170,000, starting with Onondaga and Cortland counties. It said it has started installing in the Mohawk Valley and is now moving up to Oswego, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties. Then, meters will be installed in the Capital Region and western New York. Overall, about 1.6 million electric meters will be switched out.

Alberto Bianchetti, the regional director of external and customer affairs for National Grid, said down the line, the meters will also be able to alert the company in case of a power outage.

He said the company has also been conducting outreach to educate customers about the new meters. Customers will get a 60-day heads-up before the new meters come to their area. Then, they’ll get more information about a week before installation. The installation itself should only disrupt power for about five minutes.

"We appreciate the fact that technology brings questions and curiosity,” Bianchetti said. “The important thing for our customers to understand is that the transition is virtually seamless."

National Grid hopes customers with smart meters will be able to use the new tracking technology beginning later this year.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.