Oncor to Propose Major Advanced Technology Deployment


Bob Shapard,
Dallas, TX, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 26, 2008 – Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC (Oncor) will implement one of the broadest deployments of technology on an electric grid in the nation with its proposal to install more than 3 million advanced technology electric meters throughout its delivery system by 2012.

Oncor’s advanced meter system (AMS) is expected to result in important opportunities for energy conservation and economic benefits to consumers. Advanced meters will allow retail electric providers (REPs) to offer monitoring equipment to consumers to help them control energy usage.

Oncor CEO Bob Shapard says the possibilities with the AMS technology are significant. "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 and reduce their energy consumption. With AMS technology and monitoring equipment available from REPs, consumers will have the ability to get real-time information about how they are using electricity. It’s essentially an electricity speedometer that puts control in the hands of consumers. More efficient use of electricity will also reduce the need for new generation plants and help keep our air cleaner."

In addition to the potential economic and conservation benefits, these advanced meters will improve overall reliability of the electric system. The advanced meters have two-way communications capability that will help minimize the number and duration of power outages by providing an ongoing picture of system outages and potential trouble spots. With this leading-edge technology, Oncor can read meters remotely, potentially avoiding estimated meter readings, skipped meters and inconvenience to consumers with hard-to-reach meters.

In order to assist low-income consumers, Oncor will ask permission from the state regulator for the company to facilitate the distribution of free in-home monitors to all state-qualified low-income consumers.

The transformation to this type of advanced metering technology began in 2005 when the Texas Legislature passed a law encouraging the deployment of new advanced meters. Subsequently the PUC set the rules for the state’s regulated electric delivery companies to install meters more technologically advanced than previously deployed.

Shapard noted that an integral component to a successful deployment will be a consumer education campaign. Oncor’s AMS deployment plan, which includes the education campaign, will be filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) before June 1. The plan, which will require regulatory approval, requires the company to make a significant investment in this technology and as provided for in the legislation will request recovery of that investment by a surcharge which would be collected over an eleven-year period. For residential customers, this would mean a less than $2.35 per month surcharge for 11 years, which is a comprehensive figure that includes the advanced meter, communications and support systems, low-income assistance and customer education programs.