'Smart meters' headed to our homes

By Chuck Weber email

GREENACRES, FL (WFLX)-Federal grant money is on its way to Florida Power and Light, to pay for installation of so-called "smart meters." in people's homes.

In Arcadia, Florida, President Barack Obama announced the awarding of $3.4 billion in federal stimulus dollars for projects designed to improve the nation's electric grid.

FPL, which serves most of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, is getting $200 million, to install more than 2.6 million smart meters. The meters are designed to help consumers better monitor their energy consumption, with the goal of cutting use of electricity and saving money. Utilities can also use the meters to manage their resources more efficiently.

To get an idea of how a smart meter works, we went to Pine Jog Elementary School near Greenacres. The school is just a year old and was specially-designed to be "green."

"We tie in our green building to our education program here," explained principal Fred Barch. Part of that effort includes hallway computer monitors, which display how much water and electricity the school is using-- and saving-- each day. Call it a more elaborate version of the smart meters.

"I think it's a very smart move for the President to push this type of initiative," said Barch, explaining it should reduce people's electric bills, as well as emissions.

FPL says details of the smart meter distribution are still being worked out.