Progress Energy seeks stimulus money for Smart Grid development

RALEIGH — Progress Energy is applying for $200 million in federal stimulus funds to help pay for the company's development of Smart Grid technology.

The Raleigh-based electric utility said Monday it's seeking the maximum allowed for upgrading power lines under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Last week Charlotte-based Duke Energy said it was applying for $200 million to complete its Smart Grid in Indiana and Ohio by 2012, two years ahead of schedule. Duke is separately applying for $14 million for Smart Grid demos and tests in the Carolinas.

The U.S. Department of Energy is planning to award a total of $4.5 billion in Smart Grid grants as part of the federal stimulus program.

Stimulus funds are designated to promote energy-efficiency improvements in buildings as well as upgrades to roads, bridges and the power grid.

The stimulus aid would allow electric utilities to accelerate their existing Smart Grid projects and offset the cost that utility customers would have to pay for the equipment upgrades.

"We view it as an obligation to our customers to pursue avenues to reduce the rate impact," said Progress spokesman Mike Hughes.

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