HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a smart meter technology procurement and installation plan for Metropolitan Edison Co. (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Co. (Penelec) and Pennsylvania Power Co. (Penn Power).
The Commission voted 3-1 to approve a motion by PUC Chairman James H. Cawley that approves with modifications the initial decision by the PUC Administrative Law Judge. Vice Chairman Tyrone J. Christy dissented. The companies are subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Corp.
Chairman Cawley also issued a statement. Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner also issued a statement.
On June 18, 2009, the Commission voted to establish minimum smart meter capabilities, guidance on deployment of smart meter technology, requirements for cost data and a timeline for implementation of the electric distribution company (EDC) plans.
Act 129 of 2008 required EDCs with more than 100,000 customers to furnish smart meter technology upon request; in new building construction; and have a full deployment schedule not to exceed 15 years. Each smart meter plan is to include:
- A summary of the EDC’s current deployment of smart meter technology, if any;
- A plan for future deployment, complete with dates for key milestone and measurable goals;
- A proposal for access to data for third parties including electric generation suppliers and providers of conservation and load management services; and
- A plan for cost recovery either through base rates or a reconcilable automatic adjustment clause.
Act 129 defined smart meter technology as that capable of bidirectional communication that records electricity usage on at least an hourly basis, including related electric distribution system upgrades to enable the technology. The Act also directed that smart meter technology must provide customers with direct access to and use of price and consumption information, such as hourly consumption; the ability to support time-of-use rates and real-time price programs; and automatic control of electric consumption by the customer.
The Commission had said it viewed the requirements in the law as minimum requirements and directed that the smart meter technology must also support other capabilities, such as remote disconnection and reconnection; ability to upgrade as technology advances; and ability to communicate outages and restorations.
Act 129 expanded the PUC’s oversight responsibilities and imposed new requirements with the overall goal of reducing energy consumption and demand. It added several new sections to and amended several existing sections of the Public Utility Code. The Commission is implementing the Act in phases that address EDC responsibilities to implement energy efficiency and conservation programs; smart meter technology; time-of-use rates; real-time pricing plans; default service procurement; market misconduct; alternative energy sources; and cost recovery.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner. For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Docket No. M-2009-2123950