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Burbank to receive $20 million energy grant

Burbank, Glendale the only cities in L.A. County to receive the stimulus funding

October 27, 2009|By Melanie Hicken

CITY HALL — The Department of Energy announced Tuesday that Glendale and Burbank will each receive $20 million to help fund the installation of smart meters that track real-time water and electricity usage.

Burbank and Glendale were the only cities in Los Angeles County to receive a share of the $3.4 billion in stimulus funding that President Obama on Tuesday said would support similar smart grid and other energy efficiency programs nationwide.

The federal windfall would make up a large portion of the estimated $28-million cost of the electric component of Glendale Water & Power’s smart grid plan, which is estimated to come in at about $35 million for the system development and meter installation, officials said.

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“I am ecstatic. I think it speaks well for the project that we’ve put together,” said Glendale Water & Power General Manager Glenn Steiger. “It’s a solid project. It’s going to really push Glendale into the future.”

While the pricetags cover the purchase and installation of the smart grid meters, the cost is expected to grow to $50 million in Glendale and $60 million in Burbank when other programs, such as outage management and reliability efforts, are taken into consideration, according to the federal grant applications.

The Department of Energy chose 100 out of nearly 400 “highly competitive” applications from private companies, manufacturers, utilities and cities, said Jen Stutzman, a department spokeswoman.

In addition to supporting “green” energy projects, the stimulus funding is intended to create tens of thousands of jobs nationwide, she said.

Smart grid technology could also reduce electricity consumption by more than 4% by 2030, according to the Electric Power Research Institute.

In July, the Glendale City Council unanimously approved a $28.5-million contract with Itron Inc. for the development of the city’s smart grid system, as well as the purchase of the meters. The company started working on the system last month, according to a city report.

An separate contract for installing the meters is expected to come to the City Council in coming months.

The meters will allow for two-way communication between the utilities and their customers for real-time electrical and water consumption data.

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