PG&E Tops in Smart Meter Deployments
As of July 2014, over 50 million smart meters had been deployed in the United States, covering over 43 percent of US homes, up from 46 million smart meters a year ago, according to a new report from The Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation.
The report, “Utility-Scale Smart Meter Deployments: Building Block of the Evolving Grid,” says to date, the investor owned utility with the most smart meters deployed is Pacific Gas & Electric, which has deployed 5.14 million meters and completed its smart meter project on December 31, 2013. Customers with smart meters can participate in PG&E’s voluntary critical peak pricing rate plan that will help manage system load during hot summer days, and receive energy alerts, which notify customers when they are moving into higher-priced electricity tiers.
The Edison report outlines several benefits of smart meters, one of which is that the technology helps with integrating distributed energy resources. In addition to providing bi-directional metering of energy flows for resources such as rooftop solar and storage, smart meters also provide greater visibility into what is occurring at the edge of the network. Grid operators are using the smart meter communications network to provide situational awareness of distributed resource operations. By better understanding the dynamics of intermittent resources on the grid, utilities can manage the grid more efficiently. Also, a digital grid platform allows for proactive monitoring and management of distribution network conditions and the sustainable integration of new resources.
Smart meters have received a lot of criticism, though, for everything from privacy concerns to starting fires.
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