National Grid will begin installing 5,000 meters today in Worcester in advance of its proposed smart grid pilot test.
The meters, which amount to about one-third of the 15,000 planned under the pilot program, are being installed in the North Worcester, Greendale and Tatnuck areas of the city.
The goals of smart grid program are to reduce energy consumption during peak usage times by giving customers the ability to track their consumption on smart meters in real time and offering cheaper electricity during off-peak hours. The program has yet to be approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. If it is, it would include a "Sustainability Hub," which would showcase emerging smart grid energy technology, and would also be used to encourage future support and use of the technology.
"We want to be prepared, get some baseline information, test the functionality of the meters before possible full deployment," said National Grid spokeswoman Deborah Drew, who added that the 5,000 customers have been notified by letter.
Drew said customers will see no change in billing or service, but there will be a brief service interruption during installation.