RESA Urges DPU To Launch Planned Investigation Of Metering, Data, And Billing Issues To Allow Competitive Supply Customers To Participate In Dynamic Pricing
August 21, 2018 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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The Retail Energy Supply Association requested that the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities open its planned investigation into the next steps for cost-effective deployment of customer-facing grid modernization investments as soon as possible.
As previously reported, the DPU in May rejected the territory-wide deployment of advanced meters as not appropriate at this time, stating that the costs outweigh the benefits.
However, in such May order, the DPU said that it, "is not moving away from the deployment of advanced metering functionality and remains convinced that it is an important tool in meeting our grid modernization objectives," and, as such, the DPU said in May that, "We intend to open an investigation to consider the next steps for cost-effective deployment of customer-facing investments."
The DPU said that a focus of such investigation will be specific solutions in metering, data access, and billing that would enable customers on competitive supply to participate in dynamic pricing programs as effectively as customers on basic service
RESA urged the DPU to begin such investigation
"RESA strongly supports the Department's policy goals and objectives to advance customer-centric solutions through grid modernization in the Commonwealth. RESA believes that there is a continuum of technological advancements that if deployed together or in strategic coordination with each other can deliver the outcomes customers want, namely cooling in the summer, heating in the winter, lighting, and functionality of devices like charging smart phones and operating machines. That continuum starts with the deployment of smart meters, the development of data sharing protocols and consideration for adding elective billing platform options like supplier consolidated billing. Smart meters and their related functionality, as well as the level of customer data available from such meters, have the potential to revolutionize how customers purchase and use electricity as well as change the way electricity is offered by giving customers and their suppliers the information necessary to transform customer behavior," RESA said
"In jurisdictions with well-designed market structures, competitive retail suppliers have been able to offer customers high value products, including dynamic pricing products that encourage conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. Advanced meter technology will allow retail suppliers in Massachusetts the ability to offer price responsive demand products to their customers that will encourage load shifting, conservation, and energy efficiency, resulting in real cost savings for customers and the electric distribution companies ('EDCs')," RESA said
"By providing these innovative programs on a competitive basis, retail suppliers will be able to reduce the amount of ratepayer dollars needed to fund these types of programs and to offer additional programs that supplement those funded by ratepayers. However, competitive suppliers can only provide these high value offerings when unnecessary barriers to competition are removed and they are placed on a more level playing field with the default service provider. The prompt initiation of the Department's planned investigation will advance these goals," RESA said
"Moreover, by acting expeditiously, the Department can ensure that efforts undertaken as a consequence of other proceedings do not undermine the Commonwealth's goals. For instance, RESA members have been informed that, although an interval data type meter has historically been used to record time-of-use data for certain customers, at least one EDC has discontinued providing interval data to suppliers from these meters and has been authorized to remove those meters. The lack of availability of interval usage data will have a deleterious impact on customers, especially the commercial and industrial customer segment, as the actual and highly granulated data will be unavailable for pricing, forecasting and billing; thereby, resulting in customers not obtaining the most accurate or favorable pricing. Furthermore, before such meters are removed, the Department should evaluate whether there are alternatives that would be more cost effective than removal and replacement of such meters and/or that would more effectively further the Department's grid modernization efforts," RESA said