Houston, TX, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 1, 2008 – CenterPoint Energy, Inc.’s electric transmission and distribution subsidiary, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, has received Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) approval to install 125,000 advanced meters, related communication equipment and back office systems as requested and funded by retail electric providers (REPs). Installations requested by REPs for residential customers could begin in early September and would continue through August 2009, or until 125,000 advanced meters have been installed. This agreement will supplement the advanced metering system (AMS) deployment plan filed by CenterPoint Energy in May of this year that remains under review at the PUC.
"We’re pleased that the Commission has approved the installation of this equipment while they consider our AMS deployment plan," said Tom Standish, group president of Regulated Operations for CenterPoint Energy. "We’d like to thank the various stakeholders for working to find an equitable and creative solution. This is a first step in what we hope will be the deployment of more than 2 million meters in our service territory."
REPs that participate in this voluntary program will determine customer eligibility and the terms of service offerings that they will make available. Participating REPs will have the opportunity to evaluate market response prior to a broader CenterPoint Energy AMS deployment. CenterPoint Energy will subsequently reimburse the amounts advanced by REPs to the extent the equipment is used in the company’s AMS deployment and the costs are recovered, either through a surcharge or through base rates.
The new metering technology is the first step in moving the electric grid into the digital age and should encourage greater energy conservation by giving Houston-area electric consumers the ability to better monitor and manage their electric use and cost in near real time. CenterPoint Energy has conducted extensive testing and has seen positive results from advanced metering technology through an advanced meter pilot program that began in late 2006.
Although CenterPoint Energy does not send electric bills to end-use customers, the company is responsible for meter reading and maintaining service reliability to two million electric customers in the Houston area. The meters will not only automate meter reading, but also electric service connection and disconnection, which should significantly reduce the time required for customers to have new electric service connected or to switch REPs.