Northeast states avoid meter squabbles, stress electronic commerce.
It ain't the chip, it's the interface. That's the ticket in New England and the Northeast, where utilities, power producers, retailers and marketers are standardizing electronic data transfers of customer lists, enrollment choices, energy consumption and billing determinants - the business information that will be prove essential to a working competitive market in electricity. They've done that by postponing the question of unbundling for meter equipment, software and related technology, focusing instead on the commercial transactions that must take place at network- and client-server-level interface between distribution utilities and generation suppliers.
Contrast that with California, where policymakers had decided early on that electric competition wouldn't work without opening metering and billing at the same time, and then tried to set standards for the equipment itself.