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Demand-Side Management and Metering Tech

Fortnightly Magazine - September 2004

in these programs, the emergency and economic load-response programs, equals approximately two percent of PJM's all time peak demand.

The vast majority of end-use customers in the PJM RTO pay flat, fixed rates for electricity and have electric meters that do not record the time of use. This means that, for now, PJM must continue to offer load-response programs that are admittedly poor substitutes for enabling end-users to see and respond to market prices. We can hasten the day when more end-users have interval meters that measure and record usage information over time, rather than simply accumulating the total usage over the course of a month or two. Interval meters better permit the utilization of rates or pricing that varies with the time of use-just as the cost of producing electricity varies with time. Flat, fixed rates simply do not encourage end-users to conserve electricity. It is disheartening to drive by college dormitories with the windows open in winter because of overheating or in summer because of overcooling.

Confusion remains, but the fusion that we eventually achieve will be well worth the initial confusion. There is something profoundly obnoxious about continuing to waste a resource as important as electricity by not properly reflecting its real cost.


  1. With apologies to Professor Michael L. Dertouszos of M.I.T. and to Joanne and her husband, characters in Professor Dertouszos' book, What Will Be. How the New World of Information...
  2. Hirst, Eric and Kirby, Brendan, "Retail-Load Participation in Competitive Wholesale Electricity Markets", January 2001, pg. v. Mr. Hirst is a former corporate fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  3. San Diego Gas and Electric Co., 95 FERC 61,148 at 62,555, 2001.
  4. "Additional Comments of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, In the Matter of Remedying Undue Discrimination through Open Access Transmission Service and Standard Electricity Market Design," Docket No. RM01-12-000, Jan. 10, 2003, pp. 27 and 40.
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