Smart Meter Deployment in Texas and how this affects electricity consumers

by jsgs45 on November 11, 2010

Smart electric meters in Texas have really caused some emotional rants throughout the blogosphere from Texas electric consumers noticing price increases that they can’t justify base don how they use their electricity.

Comparison of Texas Electricity Prices and Providers

More then a few electric service consumers have complained to me that the smart meters deployed in the ERCOT and Centerpoint utility areas were reporting invalid data.

They claim that they now pay more for electricity service than they did when it was the old meter technology.

Texas Electric Smart Meters

Smart Electric Meters Texas Deployments

If this is true the smart meter deployment was a huge mistake and is wreaking havoc on innocent Texas electricity consumers across the ERCOT grid.

So far Centerpoint Energy pole and wires company has deployed 2 million electricity meters across their service territory which makes up a lot of the Houston metro area.

Oncor Electric Delivery has deployed more than 3 million smart meters. The deployments should be completely finished by both electric utilities by 2012.

Oncor handles most of the North Texas area such as Dallas and Fort Worth metro areas and as far out as places like Tyler and Killeen.

The estimated savings to the electric utilities is around 300 million dollars per year. Customers in the Centerpoint Energy utility area must pay $3.05 surcharge to pay for their meter. Oncor utility customers must pay $2.19 surcharge each month on their electric bill for their smart meters.

Comparison of Texas Electricity Service Providers

Because the Texas electric utilities are saving so much money it should cause transmission and distribution charges in the Texas area to drop in price over time.

Although some people are still paying this surcharge for a meter that hasn’t even been installed yet it should start positively impacting the price people pay for electric service due to the 300 million dollars in savings each year by using real time data meter technology.

In the AEP TCC (Texas Central Company) utility area of Texas the approximate savings is around $89 million dollars a year and in AEP TNC (AEP Texas North Co) the savings per year is around $32.6 million a year. These electric utility areas are smaller populations which is why the savings aren’t as large.

Germany, Spain, UK, Netherlands, China, Brazil, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries are all launching or will soon launch smart meter technology across their electric grids and in many cases this is not a choice for consumers to opt in to. The smart meter idea is only going to become more accepted and implemented in our electricity grid system and will increase in efficiency over time.

With more countries deciding to use smart electric meters the shared knowledge exchanged between countries will only further enhance these systems and make them more productive for both states and electricity consumers alike.

Looking at California as what is to come for Texas which is just now finishing rolling out their smart meters across the grid we see some very positive things.

Southern California Edison began deploying smart meters in 2009 in a $1.3 billion dollar plan that when completed will have installed 5.3 million smart meters in 11 counties throughout the state of California. CA calls this smart meter plan “SmartConnect”.

It’s impact will reduce electricity usage consumption by 1,000 MW once the smart meters are all deployed and this in very dense populus areas. This translates to hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to CA electricity consumers.

PECO Energy Company in California which is another electric utility plans to deploy 600,000 smart meters to their 1.6 million customers. Customers will be able to see their electric usage in real time and it will allow for low-income people to purchase prepaid electricity without having to come up with a deposit.

United States Smart Meter Deployment

Smart Electric Meter Deployment in the US

There is no end in site for deploying smart electric meters. Studies have been done multiple times to determine if inaccurate data is being sent from smart meters to the utility company. When research is done looking into Texas electricity consumers complaints regarding a faulty smart meter it is almost always determined to by reading the usage correctly. This could mean that the old technology was giving them a price break and now some customers with working meters are now paying for actual usage instead of lower faulty readings.

Call to speak to a Texas or California Energy consultant at 1-800-971-4020

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