Harrisburg, PA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 16, 2008 – Pennsylvania’s Energy Conservation Bill, including provisions for smart metering, was signed into law yesterday by state governor Edward G. Rendell.
In terms of the bill, state electric distributors are required to file their smart meter technology procurement and installation plan with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) within nine months. Within 15 years all homes and businesses in the state are to be equipped with smart meters.
Energy saving targets that have been set includes cuts of 1 percent by 2011 and 3 percent by 2013, as well as a 4.5 percent reduction of peak demand by 2013. Utilities that fail to meet these requirements will face steep penalties.
“This bill marks a great step forward in our efforts to help electricity consumers save on their energy bills by reducing consumption and its establishes Pennsylvania as a leader among states working to encourage conservation,” said governor Rendell, adding that the state’s energy conservation mandates are now stronger than 44 other states.
However, Rendell said that while the bill will help save the average household more than 20 percent on their electricity bill – adding up to a total of $500 million by 2013 – he was concerned that a rate mitigation proposal had not been enacted, to limit increases when rate caps expire.
“Electricity consumers are facing rate increases of between 20 and 60 percent once caps come off and that is unacceptable… I urge the legislature to make rate mitigation a top priority when it returns, so we can avoid this crushing blow to our economy and our citizens.”
At the signing of the bill, governor Rendell also introduced a grant program to assist small businesses to reduce energy consumption, as well as the “Turn Down, Seal Off, Save Up” outreach campaign to encourage residents to make their homes more energy efficient by turning down thermostats and sealing off drafts.