February 8, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 3:34 pm

Jepsen opposes smart meters

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen on Tuesday opposed Connecticut Light & Power's proposal to replace 1.2 million electricity meters with smart meters, saying the benefit doesn't justify the expense.

Jepsen made the comments in a filing to the Department of Public Utility Control on Tuesday in response to CL&P's filing in April to install advanced electricity meters for 1.2 million customers. Unlike the current meters, these smart meters allow customers to better monitor and control energy use to keep costs under control when energy prices are high.

CL&P estimates it would cost nearly $500 million over 20 years to retrofit electric meters and implement other parts of the program; but CL&P said that cost would be offset by about $600 million in energy savings to consumers, plus lower costs from reading meters and electricity theft.

Jepsen doesn't believe the cost savings will be realized.

"CL&P's proposal would force the company's ratepayers to spend at least $500 million on new meters that are likely to provide few benefits in return," Jepsen said in a statement.

The Berlin power utility says it recommended three pricing options in a filing Thursday with the state Department of Public Utility Control.

CL&P says customers could enroll in one of two pricing options -- peak-time pricing or a four-hour time-of-use rate. Low-income customers who cut their energy use during peak hours would be eligible for a rebate option.

CL&P said a pilot test for three months in 2009 with about1,500 commercial and industrial customers in its service territory, plus another 1,500 households in Hartford and Stamford, found them warm to the idea of smart meters and incentive pricing.

"The pilot results showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage," Jepsen said. "And, the savings that were seen in the pilot were limited to certain types of customers and would be far outweighed by the cost of installing the new meter systems."

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