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orcester

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High Costs


     Despite investments and incentives from government and utilities, the applications of smart technology have not produced the amounts of energy savings promised ... at least to percentages sufficient to be considered viable returns on investment.


Savings Fail to Impress

     National Grid's Smart Energy Solutions' Worcester Pilot program was originally projected to cost $45 Million.  That amount was revised to $48 Million and could increase to $60 Million.  Over the first full year of Time-Of-Use Pricing, the 11,000 enrolled customers have saved $1.25 Million. [239]  


Government Advocates Advised Against High Costs 

     Massachusetts' former Attorney General Martha Coakley's office advised in 2012 that the Worcester Pilot of 15,000 meters was four times larger than needed, would cost $45 Million or ~$2,973 per meter and should be scrapped.  "The Company’s proposed smart grid pilot is too large and too expensive for the informational value that it is likely to provide. Furthermore, the pilot design fails to take into account or acknowledge the results of other dynamic pricing and technology pilots, thus exacerbating the potentially adverse impact on ratepayers from pursuing a pilot of such a large scale and cost without any assurance that the Company will obtain statistically valid information that is likely to differ from other comparable pilot programs. A smart grid pilot of the scope proposed by the Company in this matter is unnecessary and will only serve to burden ratepayers with higher bills with very little value in return."  [10]  But she was out-voted by the Massachusetts DPU and former Governor Deval Patrick.

     A Worcester customer who lives near Lake Quinsigamond & Route 20 received a Smart Meter and said her electric bill has doubled.  [230]  Opting Out of accepting a Smart Meter under Massachusetts DPU's current rule is systematically & punitively discouraged. [2] ​ Opting In should be non-coercive and optional.  California utilities (except the one serving Las Angeles) disconnect those refusing to pay an "Opt-Out Fee" even while some of their customers still have analog meters and pay no extra fee.  [231]

     Connecticut's Attorney General says the benefits of Smart Meters do not justify the costs of the meters and that of their communications infrastructure.  [232]

Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette:  “What the record sadly lacks is a discussion of competing considerations regarding the program or the necessity of the program and its costs as related to any net benefit to customers.” [233]    Pennsylvania AGs said their costs were unjustified.  [234]

     Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called Chicago's Commonwealth Edison plan "legalized pickpocketing" and was backed up by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn who vetoed legislation to let ComEd change its rate structure as part of its deployment of smart grid technology.  "I want to make it clear to the public that they should not be gouged by something they don't feel is providing better service," the Governor said.  [235]  Lisa Madigan also said, “The utilities want to experiment with expensive and unproven smart grid technology, yet all the risk for this experiment will lie with consumers. …  The pitch is that smart meters will allow consumers to monitor their electrical usage, helping them to reduce consumption and save money. …  Consumers don’t need to be forced to pay billions for so-called smart technology to know how to reduce their utility bills.  We know to turn down the heat or air conditioning and shut off the lights.”  [236]

     The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission denied Duke Energy's 7 year, $1.9 billion

Smart Grid / Smart Meter upgrade [237] saying it mostly benefits the utility:  “Duke looked at the proposed costs of AMI and compared those costs to quantifiable benefits, such as savings from meter reading. … The main quantifiable benefits arise from the elimination of monthly manual meter reads, enhanced theft detection that can be conducted without a truck roll, and the ability to conduct customer requested service disconnects & reconnects remotely.”  “Near-term customer benefits include hourly interval usage data (next day) through a unique website portal, allowing customers to better understand their energy usage and save energy, and the convenience of remote turn off / turn on for customer moves.  Future, advanced-metering benefits could include time-differentiated peak pricing rates, pay as you go billing options, pick your own due date options, and customer usage alerts.”  What does the soft “benefit” of customers better understanding their energy usage have to do with the utility’s sole obligation to provide “electric utility service,” the plain meaning of which is described in the Indiana commission order as “the infrastructure necessary to transmit electricity from the generation facility to the customer”? … It doesn’t.

     The government of Ontario had ordered 4.8 million smart electric meters be installed at all locations for a whopping $2 billion.  Politicians were warned there would be problems getting a Wi-Fi signal in some rural areas with lots of hills.  The utility now knows they

cannot communicate with 36,000 rural meters.  Due to hills and distance those meters are out of range so they must be read physically and the customers can't take advantage of time-of-use pricing. [238]  



Ontario's Auditor General's Report:  Smart Meter Installation Costs Twice That Projected:  They Save Less Than They Cost & They are not reducing demand for electricity at peak times


Ontario, Canada's Auditor General's Report


Power Savings of Smart Meters Prove Slow to Materialize


This New York Times article reveals the difference between having real-time energy pricing & usage information and being effectively able to utilize such info to make a difference in one's own electric bill and on reducing peak power grid demands to reduce the use of more expensive generators or fuels; in addition to the metering technology one would also need "smart appliances" that could be timed to run 'off peak' or even let themselves be started by the power company when conditions are optimal.

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10     http://web1.env.state.ma.us/DPU/FileRoomAPI/api/Attachments/Get/?path=11-129%2F2812agincm.pdf

230   Worcester gets a jump on smart energy technology, By Alli Knothe, Feb. 9, 2014

          http://www.telegram.com/article/20140209/NEWS/302099987/1237

231   http://stopsmartmeters.org/2014/09/18/psrec-confused-again-about-the-law/?can_id=a0469b56824d78070717b511ef8627f9&source=email-stop-smart-meters-september-2014-bulletin&referrer=joshua-hart&email_referrer=stop-smart-meters-september-2014-bulletin

232   http://www.ct.gov/ag/lib/ag/press_releases/2011/020811clpmeters.pdf

233   http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/docs/17000/0408.pdf 

234   http://watchdogwire.com/pennsylvania/2013/11/13/attorneys-general-say-smart-meter-costs-unjustified/

235   http://www.energybiz.com/magazine/article/244323/smart-grid-backlash 

236   http://lisamadigan.org/Newsroom/lisainthenews/item/2011-06-lisa-madigan-opinion-editorial-comed-experiment-too

237   https://skyvisionsolutions.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/indiana-ruling-on-duke-energy.pdf 

238   Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press, Hydro One can't get Wi-Fi signal from 36,000 smart

          meters; will read manually, The Toronto Sun, JANUARY 14, 2016   http://www.torontosun.com/2016/01/13/hydro-one-cant-get-wi-fi-signal-from-36000-smart-meters-will-read-manually 

239   Energy efficiency: National Grid’s pilot saves Worcester $1,25m, METERING & SMART

         ENERGY INTERNATIONAL, 1 MARCH 2016

         http://www.metering.com/news/energy-efficiency-national-grids-pilot-saves-worcester-125m/?utm_source=Spintelligent+Publishing+mailer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MI+Daily%3A+1+March&utm_term=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.metering.com%2Fnews%2Fenergy-efficiency-national-grids-pilot-saves-worcester-125m%2F