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Moving Toward a Secure, Digital Grid

We are implementing digital technologies in our century-old power grid to build a secure and flexible network that can handle today’s advancements in energy — and tomorrow’s.

The digital grid will improve the flexibility and resiliency of our electric system. This means improved efficiency, better power quality and reliability, and more options for renewable energy, energy storage and plug-in electric vehicles. And, it will enable us to offer new efficiency programs to give customers greater control over their energy use and costs.


We received regulatory approval to implement the smart grid in Ohio in 2008. In 2010, we began full-scale deployment of the technology.

  • Ohio is the first state in Duke Energy’s footprint to modernize its power delivery system with digital technology.
  • Duke Energy has installed approximately 140,000 smart electric meters, 100,000 smart gas meters, and 22,000 communication nodes in Ohio — eliminating the need for manual meter readings and giving customers greater insight into their daily energy usage.
  • We are installing distribution automation equipment, such as relays, circuit breakers and sensors, to improve reliability. This digital equipment can automatically shorten power outages and even prevent them altogether. The technology also improves the system’s efficiency by reducing the amount of energy lost from the lines as it travels long distances.
  • Installations will grow to more than 1 million smart electric and gas meters and other components over the next five years.
Cyber Security

Emerging technologies — regardless of industry — always open new avenues of risk. Duke Energy is continually assessing and improving its security plan to keep pace with growing cyber-threats, regulatory and oversight expectations, and evolving digital grid technologies.

Duke Energy’s digital grid components are protected with layers of cyber and physical security:

  • The company employs skilled information technology experts who constantly monitor our system’s security.
  • Our active relationships with manufacturers and regulators help ensure that we have a broad view of real-time cyber-security threats and can respond to them appropriately. We review security as part of the new-technology design process, and include security requirements when procuring new equipment. We also test new equipment, and request upgrades and fixes if problems are identified.
  • Our robust cyber-security policies help ensure the safety of our power delivery system, including the digital grid.


Duke Energy Indiana’s original proposal to install 800,000 smart meters was rejected by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) in late 2009. But the commission asked us to come back with a scaled-back smart grid rollout plan.

  • In April 2010, we filed a plan to install 40,000 smart meters and distribution automation, and to pilot time-of-use rates, electric vehicles, distributed solar generation and stationary battery storage.
  • The test area includes 39,000 residential customers and 1,000 commercial customers just north of Indianapolis.
  • We will collect pilot data for a year. We then hope to be able to demonstrate to regulators that the programs should be implemented across our service territory.
  • Duke Energy presented the plan during an IURC hearing in July 2010. We anticipate a ruling in 2011.

Kentucky and the Carolinas

We’re working through the planning process to finalize full-scale deployment plans in Kentucky and the Carolinas. In the meantime, we will use information from our North Carolina pilot programs and our Ohio rollout to enhance the customer experience in our other service territories.