Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Advanced metering technology being tested in the District of Columbia

A group of selected residential electricity consumers in the District of Columbia have been chosen for a pilot programme, PowerCentsDC, described as the first in the electric utility industry to test the response of residential customers to three different innovative pricing options under one programme.

Via this initiative, an advanced metering technology is being tested. Plus, the consumer are also checking out pricing options that could assist them in curbing their monthly bills by better controlling their power consumption.

From this pilot, organisations involved hope to get an insight into how consumers react to pricing information. They also want to learn whether consumers alter their usage habits, potentially resulting in lower energy costs, achieving energy efficiency gains and a reduction in the amount of kilowatts needed to supply the District of Columbia’s demand, thereby benefiting all consumers.

The two-year pilot project, funded by $2 million from Pepco through a settlement agreement, will include about 1,200 randomly selected District residents representing all eight city wards.

A “smart meter” will be installed at each participant’s residence to measure electricity use at hourly intervals and transmit usage data to Pepco each day through a wireless communications network.

The three pricing options are Hourly Pricing, Critical Peak Pricing and Critical Peak Rebate. The participants can save on their bills by reducing electricity usage during designated hours when wholesale electricity prices are high. Participating Pepco customers will be notified of forthcoming high prices on the previous day.

Pepco Holdings, Inc., the corporate parent of Pepco, anticipates that the implementation of this technology widely will help in controlling of the regional electricity prices during peak demand periods.

The District’s utility regulators approved the programme that was filed by Pepco on behalf of Smart Meter Pilot Program, Inc., a nonprofit company.

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