More utilities eyeing remote meter reading technologies to help with load management programs

ATLANTA, Sept. 19, 2001 – In light of recent energy shortages, summer heat waves and the debate over a national energy policy, more utilities are using automated meter reading technologies to aid in load management programs.

This is among the many findings highlighted in a new industry study by Chartwell Inc., an industry- retail energy market research firm.

Most utilities that are implementing AMR are doing so in small doses and mostly on the meters of their commercial and industrial customers, the Chartwell study reveals. Many of these installations are still used for solving problems such as reaching hard-to-access meters.

“With the recent headlines, though, more utilities are beginning to view AMR in a different light,” said Dennis Smith, editorial director for Chartwell. “Utilities see it as a vehicle to better manage energy supply and costs, provide customers with accurate bills and inform them of exactly how much energy they’re using, and when they’re using it.”

Overall, 70% of utilities – including electric, gas and water utilities – that participated in Chartwell’s July 2001 survey reported having AMR installed on at least some of their meters, but Chartwell estimates that only about 11% of meters are equipped with an AMR device. This percentage, though, is rising significantly as utilities are starting to expand their AMR applications, the study concludes.

Advanced AMR applications can be beneficial for time-of-use pricing and other load management initiatives, more utilities are discovering. In fact, 13% of utilities with AMR that participated in Chartwell’s survey say they will use AMR to offer time-of-use energy pricing to customers, an increase of 9% from Chartwell’s 2000 study. Another 16% collectively say they use AMR for load control and to provide customers with energy management services.

While most utilities are experimenting with AMR in small volumes, there are several pioneering companies applying the technology to all commercial and residential consumers. Chartwell predicts that more utilities will expand their AMR installations as energy deregulation policies are ironed out state by state, or on a national level.

For more information on this new AMR industry research report, or other Chartwell market research projects, please contact Dennis Smith or Philip Dunklin at (404) 237-9099, or visit www.chartwellinc.com .

SOURCE: Chartwell Inc.

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