Smart Meters: Oncor vs. CenterPoint

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Hello, I’m a smart meter. (Chronicle Photo)

Oncor, the lines-and-poles company that serves much of North Texas, filed its plans last week to roll out so-called “smart meters” to its 3 million or so customers.
Smart meters, or interactive meters as some like to call them, mean different things to different parties.
For customers the meters can provide real-time information and control over power usage — including billing plans that offer discounts on power used during off-peak hours in the evenings and weekends.
Electric retailers will be able to offer new products that compete on more than just price.
And for the operators of the electric grid, the meters eventually will eliminate door-to-door meter readers, provide information about outages and offer tools to cut peak power demand.
The cost? For Oncor customers:

If regulators approve the plan, residential customers would pay $2.35 a month for the next 11 years for their new meters.

Compare this to CenterPoint, the Houston-area company that runs the local distribution system, that announced its plan earlier this month.

CenterPoint expects customers will be charged $4.75 per month for the meters over five years while all customers, regardless of whether they have smart meters, will pay another $1.75 per month for eight years to cover installation of new equipment throughout the grid.

So, for Oncor the cost to a consumer when all is said and done: about $310. For CenterPoint: about $453.
What’s the difference between the systems? We’ve asked and will let you know what we hear, but please feel free to chime in.

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