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Massachusetts DPU Approves National Grid Pilot Program

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has approved National Grid's Smart Grid pilot program, which will test new technologies aimed at reducing outages and integrating renewable energy.

State officials announced their approval of the two-year pilot program Friday. Rick Sullivan, the state's Energy and Environmental Affairs secretary, said the program marks an "important step" toward the future of energy in Massachusetts.

The pilot program will include 15,000 electricity customers in Worcester, who can opt out of participating. It will test the ability of new technologies, fully integrate renewable energy and electric vehicles to the grid and provide customers with access to detailed energy usage information, among other things.

The program will also test new pricing structures that include higher costs during peak electricity usage times and lower costs during others.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.