Call to speed up advanced metering deployment in Ohio


Ted Strickland,
Governor of Ohio
Columbus, OH, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 30, 2007 – In a new energy plan for Ohio state governor Ted Strickland has proposed that the state public utilities commission (PUCO) be directed to accelerate the implementation of time sensitive pricing and advanced metering, among other demand response measures.

Saying that customers should be able to understand what they pay for and what they get but that the reality of the changing cost of electricity is all but absent from their experience, Strickland said at the plan’s launch that advanced meters will show them not just how much, but when they are using electricity, and when they could use less expensive power.

The plan, entitled “Energy, Jobs and Progress for Ohio”, is aimed at ensuring predictability of affordable energy prices and serving as a catalyst to enhance energy industries in Ohio, bringing new jobs while protecting existing jobs.

A key principle of the plan is to establish a stable balance between the protections of regulation and the opportunities of competitive markets, and it states the challenge – and opportunity – is to harness the power of market incentives and apply them toward not only utilities’ bottom line profits but also towards Ohio’s future overall prosperity.

It is therefore proposed to give utilities the option of pursuing either a competitive market pricing plan or an electricity security plan. If an efficient and competitive market emerges, with service territories open to competitors on a reasonable basis, then utilities should be allowed to charge market rates.

However, until such an efficient, open, and competitive market exists, rates should be set under an electricity security plan. Rates will be determined in part by the cost of generating and delivering electricity. Rate decisions will also be determined by considering the long term sustainability of energy by allowing utilities to recoup costs of environmental innovations and new power plants. And they will also factor in the significant investment Ohio ratepayers have already made in the capital assets of those utilities.

Another key principle is transparency and accountability in power markets. This should include the delivery of price signals to customers via real time pricing and time-of-use tariffs, as well as the establishment of performance metrics and targets for utilities.

Customers also deserve an equal footing with utilities, and organizations representing consumer groups should enjoy equal standing in consideration of regulations and rate negotiations.

The delivery of energy efficiency as a central element in addressing electric regulation is named as another principle. The plan proposes that by 2025, utilities must meet at least 25 percent of the growth in electricity demand and 10 percent of total peak demand by achieving power saving efficiencies. Further, it is proposed that efficiency be treated as a production cost.

The modernization of Ohio’s electric infrastructure is another priority, as is the need to stimulate renewable and advanced energy production. It is proposed that by 2025 a minimum of 25 percent of electricity sold in the state must be generated from advanced energy technologies, with no less than half of this amount generated from renewable energy sources. Noting that distributed generation holds great promise to bolster energy delivery but that net metering provisions have proven unsuccessful in realizing its full potential in Ohio, it is proposed that the PUCO investigate and implement measures to enhance the functionality of net metering in the state.

At the plan’s launch Strickland commented: “Let me say, this is not a plan for the utilities. It’s not a plan for the manufacturers. It’s a plan for Ohio. It’s a plan to protect existing jobs and to attract new jobs.”