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Oncor Electric Delivery, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, plans to blanket North Texas with high-end smart meters by the year 2012.  Oncor has sought approval for the plan with state regulators.

Oncor is responsible for electricity distribution for millions of customers throughout northern Texas.  The distribution and transmission system is the largest in Texas with lines stretching over 14,000 miles and distribution stretching over 102,000 miles.  Regulation in Texas is set up where Oncor reports to a different regulating arm than its parent company.
Oncor Electric Delivery, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, plans to blanket North Texas with high-end smart meters by the year 2012.  Oncor has sought approval for the plan with state regulators.

The smart meters won’t be free for consumers, however.  If regulators do approve the plan, residential customers will pay for the new metering devices with a $2.35 monthly surcharge for the next 11 years.

Oncor is responsible for electricity distribution for millions of customers throughout northern Texas.  The distribution and transmission system is the largest in Texas with lines stretching over 14,000 miles and distribution stretching over 102,000 miles.  Regulation in Texas is set up where Oncor reports to a different regulating arm than its parent company.

Oncor claims the new smart meters will be able to collect vast amounts of information detailing how its customers are consuming energy.  With this information, Oncor sys the typical consumer can reduce their energy consumption by around 5 percent.  This savings will cover the surcharge that will pay for the smart meters.

Bob Shapard, CEO of Oncor, adds, “Consumers will be able to see how much electricity they use throughout the day and, using that information, make smarter decisions about how they consume electricity and when, in order to save money on their electric bills.”

The utility hopes to install some 3 million advanced smart meters in their service region.  According to Oncor spokesman Chris Schein, the project will carry a tab of $690 million.

Oncor has already installed 600,000 smart meters in an earlier effort.  These earlier installations will be swapped out with the latest-generation smart meters in the new project.  The advanced meters allow for Oncor to communicate with individual appliances in a ratepayer’s household.

Once consumers have the right equipment, they can know precisely how much power is being consumed at any given time.  Consumers could find out exactly how much power is used to wash dishes or run the clothes dryer, for example.  Were the power grid ever to reach maximum capacity, Oncor would have the ability to turn off nonessential appliances in such an emergency.

The smart meters will also allow utilities to implement variable pricing schemes where pricing is based upon supply and demand.  Depending on what time of day it is, rates would be higher or lower depending upon current demand compared to the supply of electricity available.  Oncor could also allow a service that gives customers the ability to cycle appliances off and on when rates are high.

The older smart meters will not be tossed to the wayside.  Oncor plans to use them for less sophisticated applications, such as monitoring street lights.

Oncor’s first round of smart meter installations came about as part of a plan to offer broadband Internet services over its power lines (BPL).  The BPL plan fizzled out just this month and Oncor has purchased the hardware equipment from its partner in the botched effort at a cost of $90 million.  Thankfully, the equipment serves a dual purpose as networking technologies are used in smart meter installations.

“Our business is delivering electricity, not being an Internet provider or a television provider,” said Schein.  According to the spokesman, Oncor will also ask the Public Utility Commission for permission to pass along the $90 million cost to its customers eventually.

The new advanced meter plan will be filled with the commission next week.  If approved, all Oncor customers will be included in the effort and do not have the choice of opting out of the plan.

Oncor
Customer Contact Center
P.O. Box 660476
Dallas, TX 75266-0476
http://www.oncor.com

Energy Future Holdings
Energy Plaza
1601 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75201 USA
http://www.energyfutureholdings.com

© smartmeters.com. No Reproduction without permission.

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