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Tesla Powerwall to replace meter in new trial program with electric utility

An electric utility in Vermont is launching a new trial program with the goal to “make traditional meters obsolete” by using Tesla Powerwalls to track energy usage on top of the many other benefits of Tesla’s home energy battery pack.

Green Mountain Power (GMP) was one of the earliest adopters of Tesla Powerwall.

It’s a relatively small electric utility operating in Vermont, but it has been leading the deployment of Tesla Powerwalls with 2,000 units deployed to date.

Now, they are expanding the deployment with 500 more Tesla Powerwalls to be installed at 250 homes as part of an interesting new pilot program called “Resilient Home”.

They describe the program in an email sent to some ratepayers in Vermont:

“We’re launching a new, limited pilot program called “Resilient Home” and our patent-pending approach to energy delivery will make traditional meters obsolete. Customers who enroll in Resilient Home will get two Powerwall batteries for $30 per month, or $3000 up front. The batteries will provide dual benefits – whole home backup power because they switch on seamlessly during outages, and also the ability to track your energy usage. If you join this pilot program, you will agree to have GMP measure your usage through the battery. This is revolutionary in the energy world, and the goal is that the traditional meter won’t be needed anymore!”

The program is particularly interesting in the context of the national push to move to smart/net meters and remove the need to physically read the meter at the homes on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Tesla’s Powerwall, through its Gateway, acts as a motoring and energy management system. Green Mountain Power likely saw the redundancy in having essentially 2 meters reading incoming (and outgoing) power.

Green Mountain Power will leverage the capacity of the Powerwall to act as a smart meter, which is going to lower their costs and significantly subsidize the deployment of the home batteries. As a bonus, GMP will be able to shave off high demand peek power by being able to control the battery output.

For the pilot program, the electric utility is making homeowners pay only $30 a month or $3,000 upfront, which is only a fraction of the cost of a single Powerwall ($7,800).

Homeowners can also opt into the program if they buy and install the Powerwalls through Tesla or third-party retailers and get access to financial incentives.

Electrek’s Take

That’s a really interesting program. Mostly for the people that will participate in the pilot program because the price is just ridiculously low, but also for the bigger implications.

In the context of the move to smart meters, it’s a good way to kill two birds with one stone. You get the smart metering capability and you add energy storage capacity, which can be useful for backup power or peak power shaving.

I definitely can see other electric utilities getting on board with this either with Tesla or other home battery manufacturers. When used in aggregate, the thousands and growing number of powerwalls can act as a virtual power station eliminating brownouts and high cost energy peaks. For the power companies, this will be a huge money maker. Homeowners, in turn, get reliable backup power should the electricity go out at significantly reduced prices.

Tesla says that its home energy division is still battery cell starved, but it expects to be able to ramp up production this year.

They could potentially take advantage of demand coming from those kinds of projects.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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