Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Post # 48 - Ontario Smart Meter Status Report

According to the latest smart meter monitoring report of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), which regulates natural gas and electricity utilities in the province, Ontario is well on the way towards completing its smart meter rollout.

The OEB report states almost 4.3 million smart meters were installed as of August 31, 2010 – which (according to the report) amounts to 92 percent of the June 2011 target for smart meter installation in the province. About one-third of the installed meters (1.55 million) are enrolled with the meter data management repository, an independent central meter data repository that receives and process the hourly consumer consumption data transmitted daily by each of Ontario ‘s 93 local distribution companies. Moreover, almost 949,000 of the installed meters are on time-of-use (TOU) billing, whereby electricity prices will vary based on the electricity is used. Thus, the province’s distributors appear roughly on target to meet the government’s target of having 3.6 million Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers billed on a TOU basis by June 2011 (under RPP, prices are adjusted by the OEB for past differences between what consumers have paid and the cost to supply them over a 12-month forecast of future electricity costs).

The report notes that forty-one distributors (representing 3.99 million customers) have June 2011 as mandatory dates. However, four of these distributors (representing 317,728 customers) have indicated they expect to make an application to the OEB to change their mandatory date, and Hydro One Networks has applied to the OEB for an exemption from its mandatory date that would exclude approximately 150,000 customers that are currently outside the reach of Hydro One’s smart meter telecommunications infrastructure.

One distributor – Milton Hydro – has completed TOU rollout for all of its eligible RPP customers. Another – Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution – has completed TOU rollout for all of its residential customers and is proceeding with its eligible RPP general service customers. At the same time, however, an additional 27 distributors (representing 497,203 customers) have reported being behind on one or more of the smart meter program milestones (e.g., scheduling, enrollment testing, unit testing, system integration testing). Of these, 19 distributors do not expect the delay to impact their ability to meet their mandatory TOU date, while the other eight have yet to make a determination.

Moreover, nine distributors (representing 424,237 customers), including the four with a June 2011 mandatory date, have indicated that they will be making an application to the OEB to extend their mandatory date. Eleven distributors (representing 266,860 customers) reported "smart meter entity" confirmed enrollment testing dates that are not consistent with their mandatory enrolment testing date, and 17 distributors (representing 362,880 customers) have not scheduled an enrollment testing date.

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