Putting AMI in a regulatory context


Conference: Smart Metering West Coast 2006
Location: San Fransisco
Presenter: Eric Ackerman
Abstract: Presented by Eric Ackerman at Smart Metering West Coast 2006. To have a complete perspective on AMI, one must understand how state regulators approach the subject. This is important because, from a financial point of view, utility commitment to AMI depends, ultimately, on gaining regulatory support for cost recovery.  Regulators today work in an environment of rising rates, which is inherently uncomfortable for them. They perceive demand-response as a way to help customers adjust to higher prices (i.e., by giving them more control over the costs they incur). Regulatory interest in AMI and demand response is reinforced by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which contains a new PURPA standard involving “Time-Based Metering and Communications.” To realize the full potential of AMI, utilities need to implement effective regulatory strategies.  Key elements may include the development / configuration of a solid business case for AMI, the use of alternative regulatory procedures to minimize investment risk, the development of strategies for addressing the “throughput” issue appropriately, and the negotiation of business incentives for demand response.