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.
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.