I said 2011 was the year of the opt-out, but based on a couple of recent Commission orders, 2011 may have been a preamble. Texas, a state known for a robust competitive electric market and with millions of smart meters already installed, has decided to conduct an investigation to formally address the opt-out issue. When a decision has been made, smartgridlegalnews.com will let you know. 

In the meantime, I thought this well-written March 2011 Smart Grid Technical Advisory Project authored by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory would shed some light on the importance of smart meters to the smart grid. The slide on page 16 presents some great questions for regulators to consider as they address the opt-out issue:

  • Should advanced meters be mandatory or voluntary?
  • How do you craft a potential opt-out option that does not undermine either the advanced metering business case or utility system smart grid operation?
  • How should the cost of any opt-out provision be allocated?
  • Should costs be allocated to those that opt-out? or
  • Should costs be “socialized” and distributed across all customers?
  • What implications does a metering opt-out provision have for rate, demand response, electric vehicle and other smart grid initiatives?

Bonus: For those who read the full report, you will learn that you can be advanced, but not smart.