Regulatory order affords Kentucky utilities flexibility in smart grid deployments


According to the Northern Kentucky Tribune, the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) decided not to adopt uniform federal standards that govern investments in smart grid infrastructure, as well as the types of information provided to customers through smart grid technology. [Hawaiian Electric submits smart grid proposal for PUC review]

The order follows a legislative mandate to again consider the adoption of federal smart grid standards. In October 2011, the Public Service Commission took the decision to adopt the federal standard requiring electric to consider the use of smart grid technologies, as and when they invest in their transmission and distribution systems.

[quote] Following this, the PSC in 2012 decided to defer a final decision on the federal standard, after considering further issues raised by utility companies, which resulted in the regulatory order to allow utilities considerable flexibility in deploying smart grid systems.

The Commission set out additional requirements for utilities in adoption of advanced grid technology. In its order, the PSC stated that electric and major natural gas utilities in Kentucky have to develop and maintain internal procedures to safeguard customer privacy and protect their systems against cyber-attacks.

Mandating that utilities offer dynamic pricing to all residential customers was also decided against. The PSC encouraged utilities to provide their customers with detailed information about their energy usage leveraging new technologies that enable that information to be collected.

In addition, the PSC, required utilities to develop plans that detail how decisions on future smart grid investments will be made, and permits them to set policies to allow their customers to opt out of installation of newer types of meters.

Smart meters

According to the PSC, the issue of smart metering for the remote collection of usage data was a much talked about topic, with most of the feedback leaning toward opposing this. [Regulation to support SE Asia smart grid market]

The Commission said that it opposes allowing opt outs, but added that utilities could, if they wish, develop programmes to allow their customers to refuse three types of meters:

First there are digital meters that simply use a digital readout rather than the dials used in older analog meters. They do not necessarily allow data transmission. The second is AMR (automated meter reading) meters, which transmit data on the meter reading at any point in time, allowing them to be read remotely.

Alternately, customers could choose AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) meters which transmit data about usage, but can receive data such as pricing that varies with time or total system demand. They also can be used by utilities to precisely determine the location of power outages and to monitor their systems more closely for other types of problems.


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