Utility Southern California Edison (SCE) has successfully completed the first phase of a metering service agreement with MeterSmart L.P., an energy data management company. Under the terms of the agreement, MeterSmart provides customer load data to validate the effectiveness of SCE's small commercial and industrial demand response pilot programme. Early findings show that the utility's test programme doubled its original load impact estimates, with an actual energy demand reduction of nearly 10 MW during the summer of 2003.
The California energy crisis triggered an order by the California Public Utilities Commission that electric utilities must develop new programmes to reduce demand for electricity during critical periods. SCE introduced its SCE Energy$mart Thermostat SM programme, which provided a free programmable thermostat and a financial incentive to selected customers who agreed to allow the utility to control their air conditioners remotely. There are now over 2,500 customers and 4,600 thermostats installed.
MeterSmart's full service solution for SCE included installation and maintenance of metering equipment that monitored entire buildings and many individual air conditioning units inside those buildings; automated remote energy data collection and management; and Web access to the results. The partnership also constituted one of the first large-scale California programmes allowing a third-party service provider to install ‘shadow metering' in parallel with the utility's billing metering for the purposes of impact verification.