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Energy Secretary Chu Announces $75 Million Award To AEP Ohio For Smart Grid Project

The U.S. Secretary of Energy has announced the awarding of $75 million in federal stimulus money to American Electric Power's Ohio subsidiary. Steven Chu says the money is part of the Obama administration's efforts to update the country's power grid.

"It's reliability, it's lower cost, and it's going to create jobs," Chu said Tuesday.

Chu failed to say how many jobs would be created, and an AEP spokesperson said it's too soon to tell.

Earlier Chu got a tour of a state-of-the-art kitchen at AEP's Groveport facilities. Project manager Ray Hayes pointed out a large monitor that displays electrical usage and cost. "Once you've got communications to your meter, you want to go and see what you can do with your customer. So come up here and we'll take a look," Hayes said.

Part of AEP's smart grid project involves replacing the power meters of 110,000 central Ohio customers with newer, smarter meters. Those meters are part of the Obama administration's plan to move toward a more reliable grid.

"As part of this investment to modernize the grid we're announcing a total of $620 million for smart grid and energy storage projects across the country," Chu said. "In Ohio, AEP is going to receive more than $75 million."

The AEP project will be conducted in a 150-square-mile area of central Ohio including parts of Columbus and other communities.