Blog Post

Texas Utility to Spend $690M on Smart Meter Roll Out

Sometimes we get wrapped up in detailing bleeding-edge innovations that startups are developing to help monitor home energy use. But, first and foremost, cutting home power requires a huge investment from your utility, and usually a well-established company to sell and install all those necessary smart meters. This morning, Texas utility Oncor said it’s working with a smart-meter company Landis+Gyr, based in Switzerland, to roll out a $690 million smart-meter project for 7 million customers.

That will include 3 million installed advanced meter systems, which the companies say is the largest project in Texas and one of the largest in the United States. Landis+Gyr’s contact is for $360 million, notes the Wall Street Journal. Smart meters enable customers to see how much power they are consuming, at what rate, in real time, which can encourage them to cut back. Oncor’s release this morning cites California and Ontario studies that show smart meters cut home energy use by 9 percent and 6.5 percent respectively.

That helps save customers money on their electricity bill and helps the utility better manage the power grid. PG&E and Southern California Edison have started on similar efforts. So why don’t all utilities do this?

Ah, right: the price tag. Oncor is spending $690 million to install the technology, which includes everything from the meters, the system, the installation, the back office support, the low-income in-home displays, customer education and legal costs. The customers will also ultimately help foot the bill. Oncor’s plan, which still needs regulatory approval, requests an added fee of “less than $2.35 per month for 11 years.” The release notes that an important component of successfully deploying the technology will be a consumer education campaign. True, but also installing this type of energy efficiency technology can often be significantly less than the cost of adding new power generation.

Photo courtesy of Landis+Gyr

16 Responses to “Texas Utility to Spend $690M on Smart Meter Roll Out”

  1. I think it is bull shit I just built my house and payed 260 bucks 4 the old meter now low and be hold i have to pay 4 a new fucking meter to. just 1 more way 4 them to screw you. I mean UPS buys new trucks every year and we don’t pay more to ship our stuff. I personally think it is a huge rip off all they were doing was trying to find a way to save them money IE they no longer have to pay the guy to drive around and monitor the meters. So the will save millions and yet we still have to pay 4 it I payed 4 the last year on something i just got today. Nice this is a big ass scam on the electric providers part.

  2. i like the idea of the smart meters, but if i do the math it looks like they are overcharging. the end number is about $930M charged to the customer, maybe they only charge you as they roll it out?

  3. John Spencer

    I hope the smart meters are rolled out in my area. I am 100% for them if they give me a price decrease during off peak usage. I can easily direct a lot of my electric usage to off peak. For instance, my dishwasher has a feature (as do many now) that allows me to delay the start time up to 6 hours. That way I can have it run after 10pm for instance, off peak.

    As for the cost, one of the articles said it would charge customers $2.35 per month for the meters for 11 years, so that is about $300. Once again, assuming off peak rates are substantially less, the payout will be immediate, meaning I expect that I could save more than the $2.35/month.

    Hope these come to my area soon. Looks like Duke, my electricity provider, is doing it in other States, so hopefully it will come here.

    Too bad it takes a non-US Company to build these. Where is our technical capability. These meters are simple technology.

  4. Smart meters are better than dumb meters, but think twice about yet another meter that offers no real time information and no way to convey real time information to your smart house.

    This is a HUGE missed opportunity. If our smart house can understand real time usage, a tidal wave of innovation will be unleashed saving billions in energy. Imagine coordinated appliances scheduling themselves.

    As it is, “Not so Smart Meters” do away with meter readers and help out with load leveling.

    Now if we are lucky, the utility will share useful information… or perhaps make it into a “profit center” selling you your information.

    Smart consumers need access to their real time usage information to make real time decisions.

  5. Hans Teijgeler


    The story is suspiciously vague about the technical side, in particular about HOW the utility company will interface with the new meter.

    In the Netherlands we have a debate about a plan to let these smart meters send the power consumption data via the Internet to the utility company each 15 minutes (!!). That is excellent information for burglars! The suggestion was even made to use electricity during one’s vacation, just to give the impression that someone is at home.

    Be forewarned!

  6. “But, first and foremost, cutting home power requires a huge investment from your utility”: Not true, there are plenty of innovative new companies that can help the homeowner to cut power usage at a fraction of the price of a new meter and without the intervention of the utility.