Advanced Metering and Its Effects on Electricity Tracking

January 16, 2017- Each year since 2006, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been publishing reports examining demand response and advanced metering in the United States. According to the latest report (published in December 2014), demand response is when electricity usage changes from the norm for demand-side resources. This can be due to:

  • Incentive payments offered to encourage more electricity use in times of low wholesale market prices or when the reliability of the system is threatened
  • Changes in electricity pricing over time

Advanced metering, according to the 2014 report, is a system that records users’ electricity consumption each hour and transmits measurements over a communication grid to a common collection point at least once a day. These systems provide data for both energy companies and consumers, often to support accurate billing and provide usage insights. An advanced meter can also deliver instantaneous readings by using two-way recording and transmission functions.

Since 2009, the government and many electric utility companies have been working together to increase the number of advanced meters running throughout the nation. This is one piece of a larger effort to modernize the electric grid. When advanced meters are used, the result can be enhanced operational efficiency, asset utilization and reliability. Advanced metering systems offer the following helpful applications:

  • Monitoring of voltage
  • Recognition and notification of tampering
  • Activation of time-based rates
  • Integration of individual energy systems through net metering
  • Detection and communication of outages

Many utilities are instituting advanced metering projects to help encouraging consumers to better understand their electricity use. In addition, some utilities are examining timing and extent of changes during peak energy usage intervals via time-based rate plans. Through these plans, customer systems and advanced metering, the following benefits can be realized:

  • Better use of capital assets
  • Minimized generation of electricity and impact on the environment
  • Reduced capital expenditures
  • Additional consumer options for electricity use and cost management

The use of advanced metering systems continues to rise, as 2012 saw almost a 4-percent increase in penetration rate from 2011, according to data from the Energy Administration Information. Several organizations in the utilities industry project the numbers will continue to increase, as these systems offer easier use, real-time data, and the information needed to help consumers reduce electricity costs and energy usage.