smart meters

US power utility ComEd said it will deploy an AMI project to enhance its operations in the city of Aurora in the state of Illinois, beginning this summer.Commenting on the development, Mike McMahan, vice president of AMI implementation for ComEd, said: "Technology has moved on, so our standard now is the smart meter."

The utility plans to deploy some 61,000 smart electric meters as from August through to the end of 2016. However the installation is more likely to stretch through to early 2017.

Smart meters benefits

The project aims to ensure accurate and remote meter reading, to curb non-revenue electricity, due to power theft and inadequate billing.

[quote] In addition, the smart meters will also allow the utility to implement energy efficiency programmes such as ToU pricing. Consumers will also be able to go online to set their energy efficiency targets and receive notifications when they exceed their consumption targets.

Customers who  opt out of the project will pay a monthly fee of US$21.53 which the utility will use to pay its mobile meter readers, reported Chicago Tribune.

Since ComEd first began installing the smart meters on a country-wide basis in 2013, some 2.4 million metering points have so far been equipped with the new meters. [US smart meters: ComEd sets aside US$1bn for meter rollout].

According to McMahan, 2,300 of all utility's 2.3 million customers across northern Illinois have so far turned down the new system.

Energy efficiency programmes

For its customers with smart meters, in early June, the ComEd announced that it has kickstarted its demand response programme, Peak Time Savings, to help the customers to reduce their power usage and costs this summer.

The number of consumers participating in this year's programme reached a level - 160,000 registrations.

The demand response initiative was started on June 1 and will run through to September 30.

Through the platform, the utility allows its customers to earn US$1 for every kilowatt-hour they save during peak periods. The KWh saved will be deducted from a customer’s electricity bill in the following month.

In a press statement, ComEd said the programme will be held during three to five days between 11am and 7pm. Last year, 52,000 metering points participated in the project which saved US$385,000 within a few hours of sustainable use of energy.