Posts filed under ‘Utility benefits’

Look beyond meter-to-cash for smart metering benefits

Meter-to-cash (M2C) is one of the most common business justifications for deploying smart meters and meter data management (MDM) platforms. But MDM is much more than just M2C. MDM can comprise several strategies that help utilities increase revenues and reduce costs, not just through the billing system.

Full post: Meter-to-cash: What it is, and why it’s only the starting point for smart meter benefits

November 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Smart grid case studies show ROI, other benefits

What kind of return are utilities getting on their smart grid investments? A recent National Electrical Manufacturers Association report on the return on investment for the smart grid discussed a variety of consumer and utility company benefits, and highlighted some major projects….

NEMA: Smart grid case studies show ROI, other benefits

July 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Outage data tops list of smart meter benefits to utilities

Keeping the lights on is the most important thing that utilities do — and smart meters are becoming a key tool for making sure the lights stay on. Each year, Capgemini and Platts surveys electric and gas utility executives in the U.S. and Canada for their annual Utilities Executive Study. This year, these executives indicated — by a small margin — that the greatest benefit smart meters offer utilities is that it enhances their ability to manage outages…

Full post: Outage data tops utility executives’ smart meter benefit list

June 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

What types of data do residential smart meters typically collect?

Recently a regulatory colleague asked me whether residential smart meters collect any data beyond detailed electricity consumption data (which typically is recorded every 15 minutes).

There are some lesser-known ways in which advanced meters are smart. Here are three additional important types of data that smart meters gather…

Full story: Data and residential smart meters: What is typically collected?

April 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Swedish utility Vattenfall identifies more smart meter benefits

Smart meters help utilities as well as consumers — by making operations more efficient, enabling dynamic pricing and automated control to reduce peak demand, supporting the growth of renewable resources and electric vehicles, and more.

The Swedish utility Vattenfall (one of Europe’s leading energy suppliers) has identified some additional ways that smart meters could improve their operations and reduce operating costs…

Full story: Swedish utility Vattenfall identifies more smart meter benefits


April 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Spain reaffirms focus on smart energy demand to support renewables, electric vehicles

Last week Spain’s power grid operator, Red Electrica de Espana (REE), announced its strategic plan for 2011-2015. In 2010, over 35% of the electricity used in Spain came from renewable resources — mostly from wind energy. Now, one of REE’s main challenges is to integrate even more renewables into the system.

REE’s commitment to smart energy demand is one key to making Spain’s electricity system work…

Full story: Spain reaffirms focus on smart energy demand to support renewables, electric vehicles

March 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Consumer Benefits from Smart Meters

Reporters and regulators often ask me, “How will consumers benefit from smart meters?” Fortunately, the US consumer value proposition for smart meters has been clearly developed by utilities and regulators over the past decade.

Smart meters offer four main types of savings. Three of these primarily benefit consumers…

Full story: Smart meters: How consumers will benefit

August 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

California PUC Approves Landmark PG&E “Smart Utility” Project

Many states and countries have aggressive targets for renewable energy, including 30 U.S. states and the European Union (see graphic). A typical target is 20 percent by 2020, though the most aggressive is California, with 33 percent by the same date. Last week, the California PUC approved PG&E’s solar plan – complete with an increase of $1.45 billion in rate base and the associated profits. And the plan will increase, not reduce, reliability.

For more:

April 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Policymakers Must Act to Maintain U.S. Smart Grid Jobs Lead

As the world transitions to a clean energy economy and fights climate change, we’ll need a smarter power grid to make it work – and put Americans to work.  The US today leads the world in the development of smart grid technology, but we must act decisively to leverage our early smart grid advantage to help create millions of American green jobs.

Yes, millions: a new report from the American Solar Energy Society estimates that aggressive deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency can create up to 4.5 million new US green jobs by 2030.

Moreover, according to ASES, “many of these jobs cannot be easily outsourced [to other nations] due to their on-site nature.”

We’re already on the road to realize these opportunities. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invested over $4 billion in smart grid development. On Dec. 15, 2009, Vice President Joe Biden released a progress report indicating that the immediate employment payoff on this could be up to 104,000 new, near-term jobs. These are a big part of an estimated 826,000 new jobs created by energy-related ARRA stimulus investments so far. This could reduce the number of unemployed workers by 6%, and lower the overall US unemployment rate from 10% to 9.4%.

But the smart grid jobs picture isn’t just about inventing, manufacturing, selling, and installing smart meters and associated technology here and abroad. Much like the Internet, the smart grid will become a crucial economic platform. It will create entirely new business opportunities based on better ways of making, using, and understanding energy.

Because of its vast potential benefits, the smart grid will happen. But will the US continue to lead?

Our smart grid lead is at risk. We face serious competition from China, which has already made major inroads into solar and wind technology.  China already has the highest carbon emissions and will soon be the leading global energy consumer. China has a strong motive to deploy a smart grid fast — and is already working to beef up its capacity to develop and deploy this technology.  And, critically, China has committed to 100% deployment of the Smart Grid by 2020.  The US?  No commitment and no date.

China’s top-down approach to both technology development and power grid policy allows it to move fast. US technology companies have the needed innovation horsepower, but US policymakers – including state utility regulators – need to commit to the right smart grid deployment policies.  If not, the US may well cede to China the global smart grid technology market opportunity, estimated at half a trillion dollars over the next 20 years.

As a delegate to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, I saw firsthand that the fight about climate change has little to do with the environment and everything to do with jobs and economies.  Ultimately, job growth is up to the business sector. But government policy and incentives play a dominant role in guiding business strategy, especially in electricity. Because the smart grid is an obvious linchpin of energy-related green job growth, state and federal policymakers need to make the strategic choice to commit now to this sector.

And, while we’re at it, we just might help save the planet. Not a bad investment strategy.

April 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Utilities Profit from the Smart Grid, Too

Policymakers are driving Smart Grid to capture the many consumer benefits, including demand response and conservation programs that save money for consumers.  Importantly, utilities also can and do benefit from the Smart Grid, though the right regulatory policies are needed.  Policymakers need to ensure utilities make more money by selling less of their product.

Consumer bill savings and carbon emission reductions result from lower peak demand and lower electricity consumption, and most public utility commissions are requiring utilities to include these programs in their overall resource plans.  Smart meter-enabled consumer engagement software is a low cost way to achieve energy savings – through information feedback – that also increases customer satisfaction.  In addition, PUCs and the U.S. Congress recognize the incentives problem and are developing ways of allowing utilities to earn the same level of profits with lower sales.  The methods include decoupling, rate of return kickers, and putting energy efficiency investments in rate base, allowing earning of a return.  Twelve states have done this already, and most of the rest are evaluating it.  States receiving Stimulus funds from the Department of Energy even had to promise they would consider these options before receiving the funding.

As for utilities, Smart Grid enables them to reduce their operating costs while maintaining or increasing reliability (things like automated outage response and restoration verification).  Smart grid also requires significant investment, which then goes into rate base and increases utility returns.

Smart Grid works best when both consumers and utilities see clear benefits.

September 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm


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