Smart Meters In Texas  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The WSJ has a report on the rollout of 3 million smart meters in Dallas (and more in Houston).

Landis+Gyr Holdings Pty Ltd., an international utility-meter company, is expected to announce Tuesday a $360 million deal to furnish Dallas utility Oncor Electric Delivery Co. with "smart" meters for three million homes and small businesses.

The meters are part of an important trend to help consumers control electricity use and to help utilities cut operating costs and improve electric-system reliability. Texas has seen some of the sharpest electricity price increases in the U.S., and the meters have the potential to curb costs by giving retail suppliers new pricing options.

Among other features, the meters will send readings wirelessly, giving consumers and suppliers very detailed information on electricity use.

"What seems pretty clear, as people try to make better use of electricity and water, is that the old monthly meter reading won't cut it anymore," said Howard Scott, managing director of the Scott Report, a publication that covers the advanced-meter industry and is a unit of Cognyst Advisors LLC. It doesn't invest in any of the companies it covers.

Though the contract is big, it is likely that even bigger ones are coming as the nation's utilities and regulators search for ways to cut "peak" energy use, which plays an especially large role in pushing up energy costs. The biggest California utilities are making meter selections currently.

In a recent analysis by Deutsche Bank, researchers said 50 million old-fashioned meters in the U.S. are likely to be replaced by advanced meters by 2010, at a cost of about $18 billion. ...

Oncor is proposing to give all low-income consumers free in-home display monitors to enable them to see, at a glance, how much electricity they have consumed and at what cost. The displays will help "the low-income consumers stay within their budgets so they can manage their costs better" and avoid bill shocks, said Oncor spokesman Chris Schein.

Oncor doesn't yet have rate approval, but it said its program, as currently envisioned, will cost its customers $2.35 a month for 11 years, or about $300. The meters alone cost about $120.

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