Saturday, August 28, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
But according to a new study by Ersi, a software development and services company providing GIS software, there currently is a wide range of GIS capability among utilities, with the largest often being the least smart grid ready. Ersi finds that data accuracy is spotty and often either incomplete or not GPS accurate. Interestingly, according to Ersi, the larger a utility’s size, the less likely it is to be “smart grid ready.”
Although Ersi obviously is not a disinterested bystander, its study contains interesting data about utility integration of GIS technology. In the last quarter of 2009, Ersi conducted what it calls a “smart-grid-readiness survey” of electric utilities around the world (though primarily located in the
But with respect to accuracy and integration, only one-third of the responding utilities say they update their GIS data within ten working days of completion. Overall, the study finds that utilities report a lag time of up to 90 days to move data from the field into the GIS. Moreover, the study found a strong inverse relation between company size and the time it takes before completed work is reflected in the GIS data base. The larger the company, the longer it takes -- although the difference is considerably greater between the “very large” and “large” utilities than between the “large” and “mid-size” utilities.
Twenty-five percent reported that there is information older than six months that is not reflected in their GIS. Perhaps most significantly, only 15 percent report “high confidence” – defined as an error rate of less than 2 percent – in their GIS data. And, as noted above, Ersi concludes that the larger the utility the less likely it was to be among the most “smart grid ready” companies.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
The combination of the MPSC's conditional approval on Friday and BGE's acceptance today of the conditions also means that BGE has secured the $200 million grant for the project approved by the U.S. Department of Energy. BGE will now move forward and, following periodic reviews, seek incremental cost recovery from the PSC.
So, after some major stumbling blocks this summer, BGE's smart meter roll out begins. And so does continued MPSC review and oversight.
8/14/2010 POST: Following up on my August 12th post, late yesterday (Friday, August 13th), the Maryland Public Service Commission issued an order conditionally approving Baltimore Gas & Electric's smart meter roll out. Assuming BGE accepts the MPSC's conditions, this will allow BGE to retain its $200 million grant for the project for the U.S. Department of Energy. As I noted in the prior post, DOE reportedly had set a August 16th deadline for BGE to receive necessary PSC approval.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
While not addressing BGE by name, the report expressly singles out BGE’s situation (emphasis added):
Regulatory approval is needed for a number of previously awarded Recovery Act projects to move forward. As the Department's programs have no control over the outcome of regulatory reviews, it is possible that some obligations could fall through in the coming months, not allowing the Department sufficient time to re-obligate funds. For example, a local public service commission recently denied approval of an application submitted by a Recovery Act recipient to install equipment provided through the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program. OE [DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability] officials stated that while the recipient’s efforts to obtain regulatory approval are ongoing, OE may need to quickly re-obligate $200 million in Recovery Act funds if approval is not received.Press reports indicate that DOE has agreed to wait until August 16 – this Monday – to decide whether the agency will revoke BGE’s funding and send the money elsewhere. There is no indication where DOE will send the money if the PSC turns down BGE again. Either way, we (and BGE) will have to wait and see. But not for very long, apparently.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Another speed bump has appeared on the road to “a smart meter in every home” – this time, in
In December 2008, Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), the state’s primary utility, sought approval from the
To date, HECO has installed approximately 9,400 meters as part of a pilot project. Last May, HECO petitioned the PUC to expand the pilot by installing 5,000 additional meters on
Last week the PUC denied the request – and, in so doing, cast doubt on the entire project. In particular, the PUC indicated concern about the cost-effectiveness of the extended pilot, particularly in light of criticism the project has drawn. For example, the state’s Division of Consumer Advocacy argued that the new CIS had not proven itself viable - let alone shown that it could be successfully integrated with the AMI system. The
But in addition to nixing expansion of the pilot program, the Hawaii PUC also ruled that HECO now cannot proceed with the plans outlined in its original 2008 application The PUC said HECO should create a comprehensive plan for upgrading the electric grid before it makes another attempt to use ratepayer money to put advanced electric meters in homes and businesses.
As with the Maryland Public Service Commission's treatment of Baltimore Gas and Electric’s smart meter project (see Post Nos. 25 and 29), the Hawaii PUC has not necessarily killed the project. Rather, it told HECO to go back to the drawing board.
Nonetheless, the Hawaii PUC’s action is one more example of increasing state regulator sensitivity that the costs of smart meter installation may outweigh the benefits to the consumers being asked to shoulder the costs.