Illinois regulators approve Ameren's accelerated smart meter rollout
- The Illinois Commerce Commission last week approved Ameren Illinois’ plan to accelerate the rollout of smart meters to all of its customers, an effort that is already underway and that the utility says saves customers $46 million annually.
- The utility launched its $3.5 billion grid modernization program four years ago, authorized by the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA). Since then, the advanced metering has helped avoid more than a quarter million outages, according to Ameren.
- The utility delivers electricity to about 1.2 million customers, and more than 345,000 have so far received new two-way meters.
Ameren's bid to expand its smart meter offerings builds on a growing trend of utilities offering smart meters as a way to collect data and extend more customer choice.
Ameren's bid to accelerate smart meter rollout was uncontroversial, according to the commission's order, with no parties objecting to the expanded score and schedule of the rollout. The utility addressed a lag in AMI meters being "cutover" for billing; as of the end of 2015, Ameren had installed more than 208,000 meters but less than 73,000 were communicating with the network.
According to the commission's order: "Ameren avers that in areas of the service territory where meters are read manually, there always will be a lag between the time that a customer’s meter is installed and the time that a customer’s route is cutover." Also, there are requirements for how many meters must be installed before routes are switched over. The process for converting billing routes from manually-read to AMI-read requires 80% of the route’s meters converted to AMI, before a route is cutover, the utility explained.
Ameren issued a statement saying the new metering would eventually allow customers to view energy usage online and to participate in variable pricing programs. The utility cited one example where 7,000 customers responded to two "peak" day events in August and September, earning credits up to $63.
Also earlier this year, New York regulators approved an advanced metering rollout for Consolidated Edison in New York City and Westchester County. The advanced meters will allow for 15-minute meter reads for residential customers, five-minute reads for non-residential customers, and directs ConEd to employ the Green Button Connect data sharing standard.
- Midwest Energy News Illinois utility gets green light to expand smart meters to all customers
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