On November 14, 2017 the Environmental Defense Fund and the Citizens Utility Board of Illinois released the results of a study “New Smart Meter Data Shows Potential of Real-Time Pricing to Lower Electric Bills.”
The report concluded that “Ninety-seven percent of a sample of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) customers would have saved money in 2016—without changing their electricity use—had they participated in a ‘real-time pricing’ program in which power prices change hourly.”
Specifically, the paper finds real-time pricing would have trimmed bills for the average ComEd customer by $86.63 annually, or 13.2 percent less than they paid under the traditional flat-rate power pricing system. Moreover, real-time pricing would have generated savings for 97 percent of the households covered in the study, comprising total savings of $29.8 million.
If you identify yourself as an environmentalist and have become enamored with the idea of time-of-use billing, please don’t be deluded into thinking that the Illinois report proves that smart meters will offer environmental benefits, because the report states that 97% of the customers WOULD NOT need to change their consumption patterns to “save money.”
And please don’t be fooled into believing that time-of-use billing plans implemented by investor-owned utilities will save you money, because even as demand for electricity has decreased, in the real world, rates have increased. Some jurisdictions have implemented fixed minimal charges, so that when consumers conserve, they have to pay for electricity they are not even using.
Read more: New EDF/CUB Smart Meter Data Report Shows Potential for Abuses of Power and Collusion