JCP&L Files Advanced Metering Plan
September 9, 2020
On Aug. 27, as required Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) filed an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) plan with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), laying out JCP&L’s proposal for installing smart meters and associated data systems across our service territory.
Pending BPU approval, the initial planning and development phase of the program would begin in 2022, with the installation of 1.1 million smart meters and supporting infrastructure scheduled for January 2023 through December 2025.
“This filing responds to the BPU’s February order for New Jersey electric utilities to submit AMI proposals, as outlined in the state’s Energy Master Plan,” said Jim Fakult, president, JCP&L. The latest version of the Energy Master Plan, released early this year, addresses greenhouse gas emissions by New Jersey’s electric generation, transportation and building industries. The plan calls for maximizing energy efficiency and conservation and reducing peak electricity demand.
Smart meters – digital electric meters that send a stream of energy consumption information to the local utility through a secure data network – ensure customer bills are based on actual consumption, significantly improving billing accuracy. They also can provide customers with more detailed energy information through an online Home Energy Analyzer tool, which can help them better understand and make more informed decisions on their electricity usage and overall consumption.
When integrated with an Advanced Distribution Management System, smart meters will provide more timely information on customers’ service status. In the short term, for instance, this information may eliminate the need to call customers to verify their power is back on once an outage has been restored. In the future, this technology should enable us to detect power outages, so we can restore power more efficiently.
Once the company is able to read smart meters remotely, the billing process will become more automated.
“We will work closely with the union representing meter readers to discuss the options available to minimize the impact on employees. We intend to explore training and other assistance to help affected employees transition to other job opportunities within FirstEnergy. This approach has been very successful for other FirstEnergy operating companies,” said Jim. In Pennsylvania, for example, more than 100 meter reading employees were placed in new positions as part of the move to smart meter technology.
The BPU will review JCP&L’s filing in the months ahead. The proposed cost for the program is $418 million. For a typical residential customer using 768 kilowatt-hours per month, the initial monthly bill increase would be about 65 cents, effective Jan. 1, 2022. The maximum incremental bill impact on a residential customer over the entire deployment period is an estimated increase of approximately $1.42 or about 1.3% of the current average monthly bill.