Pennsylvania regulators approve PPL smart meter plan

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved the Smart Meter Technology Procurement and Installation Plan submitted by PPL Electric Utilities Corp.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve an order finalizing PPL‘s plan for smart meter deployment, as required by Act 129 of 2008 (Act 129).

The Smart Meter Plan replaces PPL’s original SMP, which was filed with the PUC in August 2009. The commission found that PPL’s original plan did not fully comply with Act 129, because technology that had initially been deployed was unable to provide customers with direct access to price and consumption information.

As a result, the commission directed PPL to develop a plan that would fully comply with Act 129 and the additional requirements of the commission’s SMP implementation order.

An updated PPL SMP, filed with the PUC on June 30, 2014, was the subject of extensive filings, briefs and hearings before the commission’s Office of Administrative Law Judge, extending from July 2014 through June 2015. Today’s vote by the commission finalizes approval of PPL’s updated SMP.

Act 129 of 2008 required electric distribution companies with more than 100,000 customers to furnish smart meter technology both upon request and in new building construction, and to have a full deployment schedule not to exceed 15 years.

The act defined smart meter technology as that capable of bidirectional communication that records electricity usage on at least an hourly basis, including related electric distribution system upgrades to enable the technology.

The act also directed that smart meter technology must provide customers with direct access to – and use of – price and consumption information, such as hourly consumption; the ability to support time-of-use rates and real-time price programs; and automatic control of electric consumption by the customer.

The Pennsylvania PUC balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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