In the US, two utilities in the state of Kentucky have signed off revisions to its residential and commercial demand-side management (DSM) programs to include smart meters.
Regulator Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has authorized Kentucky Utilities (KU) and Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) to tweak its package of programs to include advanced metering, reports local media the Lane Report.
Alongside KU and LG&E adding new features to five of its existing 10 campaigns, the two utilities have introduced a new program to test the functionality of smart meters in conjunction with energy efficiency and DSM initiatives.
KU and LG&E will install smart meters for around 5,000 customers per utility on a first-come, first-served basis in a pilot project expected to last until 2018.
Customers who receive the meters will have access to a website that allows them to see their own hour-by-hour usage within 48 hours of the time the data are collected, the local news organisation reported.
PSC Chairman David Armstrong and Commissioner Linda Breathitt supported the inclusion of the advanced meter program saying it was a good way to test the concept on a limited scale.
However, PSC Vice Chairman Jim Gardner cautioned that KU and LG&E had not applied a cost-benefit analysis to the program, as is required for all DSM programs.
Mr Gardner said that the fact that usage data will not be available on a real-time basis, and that no price data is included, means the program will be of limited use in encouraging reduced energy consumption.
KU and LG&E are required to file regular reports on the progress of the advanced meter program.
Industrial energy users
The regulator also ordered KU and LG&E to study the potential of energy efficiency programs for industrial customers.
Under Kentucky law, energy-intensive industrial customers that already have cost-effective DSM programs are allowed to opt out and not pay the surcharge that under Kentucky state law funds the programs.
Therefore, KU and LG&E do not offer any DSM programs for industrial users.
The PSC noted that state law gives it only the authority to review and approve or reject DSM programs proposed by utilities. But it does have the ability to require an energy efficiency study for industrial customers, the PSC said.
The PSC said that it is not directing the companies to offer a particular program, nor is the commission suggesting consideration of a particular program.
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