Meter Markets: A New Value Proposition
"In the old model," notes Masiello. "All the errors in metering were buried in the utility's line losses.
"Ironically, there are associations, like the American National Standards Institute, that set metering standards," notes Masiello. "But there's no domestic agency that certifies meters. In every other industry, the state government would have a bureau of weights and measures to perform certification. But not in the electric utility industry."
Regulators are concerned as well in Pennsylvania: "If the commission decides to unbundle metering, industry-wide standards for meters and related communication systems may be an option ... to ensure proper meter installation, meter maintenance, meter accuracy and assurance, licensing of meter installers, meter manufacturer and vendor certification."%n5%n
"As a meter vendor," says Masiello, "we'd still like to be able to self-test. But there will need to be some government agency who audits the vendors who self-test, or who tests meters in the field. This would be a new development."
So how does Masiello see the future of metering?
"Here's a wild prediction. At some point down the road, in about five years or so, consumers will be able to go to the hardware store or to Circuit City and
buy a meter. Just like with
Bruce W. Radford is editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
1Decision 97-05-039, 177 PUR4th 386 (Cal.P.U.C.).
2See, Request for Comments - Metering, Docket No. M-00960890, April 24, 1997 (Pa.P.U.C.).
3Question 33 asks: "Is there software that a residential customer can use to download their meter data to a personal computer or energy management system?" Question 49: "If the purchase of an advanced meter is necessary for service with a supplier, will the cost be disclosed up front, so consumers realize there is more to compare than just a price per kWh?"
4The RSIF report describes how competitive metering will change the industry: "The metering agent is a new function within the industry. ... The metering agent and the metering data management agent ... acquire consumption data from the end-use customer premise, correlate it with other descriptive information ... validate the data to ensure that it is accurate, and make the data available to authorized industry participants." See generally, http://162.15.2/wk-group/dai/.
5See, Request for Comments - Metering, Docket No. M-00960890, p. 10, April 24, 1997 (Pa.P.U.C.).
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