ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Use The billions Invested In AMI Deployment
Slowed pay-off from billions in AMI investment puts the technology's future in doubt; Regulators have approved billions for utilities to roll out advanced metering infrastructure but they expected new customer and system benefits, not just lower utility operation costs.
Herman K. Trabish, February 20, 2020 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Efforts continue to get electricity providers to assimilate and use AMI data to the power system more flexible
As utility proposals grow for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments, power system regulators are demanding evidence that the real-time distribution system data AMI produces justify the billion-dollar costs, causing deployment to slow.
But some utilities have begun demonstrating granular AMI data can be used to lower customer bills and lower power system costs, utilities, private sector partners and analysts told Utility Dive. "AMI is a whole new world for utilities, and they have to update systems and train people about the new possibilities," American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Policy Program Fellow Dan York told Utility Dive. "It is a powerful feedback to customers and utilities that can guide important changes in how and when energy is used."
Impediments to getting pay-offs from huge AMI investments have been significant, AMI advocates told Utility Dive.
Utilities and providers need to evolve data processing software capabilities in a regulatory system that favors hardware investments over software expensing. But leading utilities are showing they can meet regulators' demands to justify AMI costs as they gain access to the right capabilities, stakeholders said.
AMI is the combination of smart meters, "communications networks, and data management systems that collect, transmit, and record electricity consumption data in daily or shorter intervals," a January 9 ACEEE study reported.
There were over 88 million smart meters installed at the end of 2018, serving "nearly 70% percent of U.S. households," according to a January 2019 Edison Foundation report. Cumulative distribution system investments of $39 billion in 2019 brought estimated deployment to 98 million by the end of the 2019 and could reach 107 million by the end of 2020… click here for more