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Peco to regulators: May we modernize faster please?

By: SmartGridNews.com |

The Philadelphia utility originally planned to deploy smart meters through 2019, but recently asked the Pennsylvania PUC to let it spend $282 million to finish the installation for all of its 1.6 million customers by the end of 2014. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer report, the utility says not having to maintain two systems for that extended time period will result in a savings of $58 million.

Peco stalled its smart meter rollout last summer after reports of smart meters overheating and at least one related house fire. A few months later it resumed installations after swapping meter makers. In the aftermath, a number of experts, including those at DNV KEMA, have said fire risks shouldn’t be blamed on the meters, but on poor or degraded connections in the meter socket receptacles.

And the Inquirer indicates the smoking meters issue hasn’t gone away. It says a Peco spokeswoman acknowledged a fire last month that occurred just hours after the utility installed a new meter. But the spokeswoman indicated the fire originated in the home’s meter panel, not the meter itself.

But Pennsylvania’s PUC has been supportive of smart meters, or as the Inquirer put it, “the commission’s enthusiasm for the devices is undiminished.”