New Jersey’s public utilities commission, they call it the Board of Public Utilities is in the process of approving billions to strengthen New Jersey’s electric grid but is not allowing deployment of ‘smart’ meters. National Grid mis-characterized the Worcester ‘smart’ meter pilot at the 2/27/14 DPU 12-76 hearing:
(DPU) CHAIR BERWICK: So if utilities were going to do statewide (‘smart’ meter/smart grid) marketing…
MR. WHITE (National Grid VP-Customer Strategy) …something that says the Commonwealth is modernizing the infrastructure, like what we’re doing similar to New Jersey. I forget what they called it there, but like Build Grid Strong or something like that. They’re really trying to say that the state is really making a concerted effort to modernize the infrastructure…
See below for an email from New Jersey’s Ratepayer Advocate in response to HMSM’s request for clarification of New Jersey’s “Energy Strong” program and whether ‘smart’ meters are addressed. For a printable PDF click HERE.
April 14, 2014
Via Email Only
Clare Darie Donegan
Dear. Ms. Donegan:
Thank you for your recent inquiry and interest regarding the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel’s position regarding Smart Meters. The Division of Rate Counsel is statutorily mandated to represent and protect the interests of utility consumers, as a class, with regard to regulated electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater, cable, and telephone services. Rate Counsel also represents consumers in setting energy and telecommunication policies that affect the provision of services. Our division’s mission is to ensure that consumers receive safe, adequate and proper utility service at affordable rates for New Jersey ratepayers.
The New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel has generally not supported proposals for the Utility to install “Smart Meters” as quoted in news articles in New Jersey. We have generally argued that the installation of these meters is not cost-effective particularly given the stranded costs that may be created when meters throughout a utility’s service territory are replaced before the end of their useful life. Some of our positions can be found on our website: www.state.nj.us/rpa.
While, we do not have the resources to file comments in proceedings outside our jurisdiction, we at the Division of Rate Counsel wish your organization success in representing your cause and the interests of your members. We encourage the public to remain active in voicing their concerns in public matters. Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
/s/ Stefanie A. Brand
Stefanie A. Brand
Director, Division of Rate Counsel
See below for one of the ‘articles’ mentioned above.
I am sure it was not intended to be a debate on the merits of smart meters, but let’s just say the discussion got lively as Itron’s Dan Pfeiffer’s comments followed New Jersey Consumer Advocate Stefanie Brand’s statement. Stefanie made it clear that in her view, advanced metering infrastructure (“AMI”) also commonly referred to as “smart meters,” are not so smart and in New Jersey have not been shown to be cost-effective. As a result, New Jersey is not deploying smart meters at this time. To garner her support, AMI programs should be voluntary and ideally provide consumers rate reductions that are greater than the cost of the meter. “Outage protection and remote shut-off is not enough,” explained Brand.
Smart meters provide information but do not do anything. You have to do the work. ~Stefanie Brand