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Regulators approve Entergy Texas' advanced metering system deployment

The Public Utility Commission of Texas approved Entergy Texas Inc.'s plan to deploy an advanced metering system, or AMS, to its retail electric customers.

The plan also includes updating the company's legacy outage management system and implementing a new distribution management system, according to the Dec. 14 order.

"This system will lay the foundation for grid modernization technologies that offer a wide range of benefits to our customers," said Entergy Texas President and CEO Sallie Rainer.

The meters should allow Entergy Texas to encourage dynamic pricing and demand response within its territory; improve the deployment and operation of generation, transmission and distribution assets; provide more choices for electric customers; and increase the reliability of its network, the order said.

The Entergy Corp. subsidiary proposed to recover costs in deploying AMS through a surcharge tariff. The company estimated a total revenue requirement of $154 million over a 12-year surcharge life, or $13 million in annual retail revenues.

However, Entergy Texas settled with concerned parties to reduce the total initial estimated revenue requirement by $10 million. The company also committed to invest a total of $500,000 in low-income programs, of which $250,000 could not be recovered, over the term of the surcharge period.

A return of equity of 9.8% and a weighted average cost of capital of 8.22% for Entergy Texas will be used to calculate the AMS surcharge.

Entergy Texas will also recover fees from customers who will opt out of the service.

The company said the upfront, one-time fee for nonstandard metering service will be $121.48 for customers who will keep their existing nonstandard meters, $135.59 for those who will replace their existing nonstandard meter and $183.14 for those who will replace AMS meter with nonstandard meter. The monthly fee for those who opt for nonstandard metering service will be $29.71. This recurring fee will cover transportation and labor costs associated with monthly meter reads, Entergy Texas' share of costs of service clerks supporting monthly billing activities, and 50% of the rate-case expenses related to the development of and request for the nonstandard-metering-service fees.

Entergy Texas said customers will see the appropriate fees on their bills starting in January, as it begins to deploy the advanced network. (PUC Docket No. 47416)