Massachusetts Rejects Smart Meter Rollouts, as Competitive Energy Undermines the Business Case | Greentech Media

The problem is that each utility customer that switches to a non-utility energy provider is no longer part of each utility’s list of prospective time-varying rate (TVR) adopters, even though the utility paid for the smart meter that made them available.

And while third-party retailers and municipal aggregators could offer TVRs of their own, “there is currently no consensus” on how that can be accomplished, the DPU noted.

First, “neither National Grid’s nor Eversource’s existing billing systems are able to accommodate a large number of TVR customers without large-scale, multi-year upgrades,” it wrote. “The need to bill customers separately could create a barrier to participation in dynamic pricing for competitive supply customers which, in turn, will lower the potential benefits to be gained from the deployment of advanced metering functionality.”

Second, data-sharing between utilities and third parties is still an open subject, it stated. National Grid, Unitil and Eversource plan to make customer usage data available to third parties, including competitive suppliers, using the Green Button data access protocol. But before that can happen, utilities and other stakeholders need to “develop a uniform statewide data access strategy.”

“In sum, there are several issues that affect competitive suppliers’ interests and ability to offer dynamic pricing products, including access to customer data, billing limitations, and the uncertainty of customer willingness to participate in dynamic pricing products,” the DPU wrote. “As more customers migrate from basic service to competitive supply alternatives such as municipal aggregation, the Department will need the certainty of widespread adoption of dynamic pricing products from the competitive market to maximize the benefits of the deployment of advanced meter functionality.”

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Massachusetts Rejects Smart Meter Rollouts, as Competitive Energy Undermines the Business Case | Greentech Media.