Penetration of advanced meters is increasing, FERC staff says in report

FERC staff has released a report that concludes advanced meter installation continues to penetrate the U.S. electric system.

The “Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering” report was released Dec. 22 by the FERC staff.

The report says that, based on publicly-available information, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has concluded 58.5 million advanced meters were operational nationwide out of a total of 144.3 million meters, indicating a 40.6% penetration rate.

EIA defines advanced meters as meters that measure and record usage data at a minimum, in hourly intervals and provide usage data at least daily to energy companies and may also provide data to consumers. Data are used for billing and other purposes.

Advanced meters include basic hourly interval meters and extend to real-time meters with built-in two-way communication capable of recording and transmitting instantaneous data.

The same report finds that in the organized wholesale markets, the contribution of potential peak reduction to meeting peak demand increased to 6.6% in 2015 from 6.2% in 2014.

Staff also said in the report that the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has developed and approved four new metrics for assessing demand response, and intends to continue its efforts to improve demand response data collection to provide information on how demand response contributes to reliability

For example, in February of this year, Baldwin County Electric Membership Corp. (Baldwin EMC), the largest cooperative electric utility in Alabama, started deployment of 20,000 advanced meters. Baldwin EMC serves more than 73,000 customers.

Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE:PNW) utility Arizona Public Service (APS) filed a rate case application on June 1 that included a proposed advanced meter opt-out fee ($70 for set up and $15 per month meter reading fee). APS included the advanced meter opt-out fee in response to the Arizona Corporation Commission’s (ACC) decision to include consideration of advanced meter opt-out fees as a component of the ACC’s comprehensive review of the APS general rate case.

On Aug. 3, Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) filed a request with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to approve a $500m project proposal that would replace all retail meters with advanced meters.19 The proposed project is scheduled to roll out the advanced meters from 2017 to 2021, pending Colorado PUC approval.

The Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC) deployed over 38,000 advanced meters as of June 2015. The deployment is part of a smart grid project (ConnSMART Program) that includes four municipal utilities. The CMEEC intends to provide all customers with access to advanced meters, with the goal of realizing operational efficiencies, improving service reliability, and enhancing customer service.

In March 2016, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) ordered Ameren Illinois and Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to provide customers with electronic access to their own electricity usage data gathered through advanced meters.

The ICC order establishes a process by which consumers can obtain and control access to their electricity data, prescribing a standardized authorization form and the Green Button Connect My Data program as the method of electronic delivery.

The FERC staff team that wrote the report included Team Leader Michael P. Lee, Ben Foster, David Kathan, Meghan O’Brien, April Park and Samin Peirovi.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at