As digital technologies are increasingly used in electrical equipment and appliances around the house, the time has come to use these same technologies to manage overall electricity consumption. Smart meters, which track and capture electricity consumption on an hourly basis, are a key part of the ongoing technological evolution taking place in the electricity sector.
Soon, there will be over a billion smart meters deployed around the world. Ontario benefits from a comprehensive smart metering network that forms the foundation for the development of a provincial smart grid.
Ontario's Smart Meter Infrastructure
Smart meters track energy use on an hourly basis and send this information automatically to local distribution companies (LDC). By automating the meter-reading function, smart meters deliver a number of benefits:
- They support the implementation of time-of-use prices. By time-stamping consumption data, local distribution companies are able to determine how much electricity was used during off-peak times and how much was consumed during on-peak periods.
- They help LDCs identify power theft and respond to meter failures and outages more quickly.
- They provide greater operational efficiencies in local distribution system management.
Much like a telephone or Internet connection, the smart meter connects you into a wide computer network.
From the home, the smart meter puts into play a series of actions: collecting energy use information, verifying its accuracy and processing it for monitoring and billing. In its role as Smart Metering Entity, the IESO is responsible for the central data repository (known as the MDM/R) that manages the consumption data for residential smart meters.
The MDM/R ensures that all Ontario residential and small business consumers have access to the same high standards for effective and accurate smart meter billing information regardless of where they live. It provides a cost-effective solution and service for the processing, storage and protection of electricity consumption information.
Energy Information Loop
Here's the path information takes from your smart meter to your electricity bill.
On an hourly basis, the amount of electricity you use is recorded by the smart meter on your home.
Each day, your hourly electricity consumption data along with a register reading is sent wirelessly, or via telephone or power lines to the Local Distribution Company’s (LDC) data collector.
Meter Data Collection
These collectors relay the electricity meter read data information to your LDC’s system which ensures that all the smart meters have been read and all the necessary information has been captured.
Data Management & Repository
Your LDC then transmits this information to the MDM/R which computes electricity usage during the Time-of-Use periods. Only the LDC or their authorized parties have access to the highly secure MDM/R database.
Customer Information & Billing
At billing time, billing determinant information from the MDM/R is sent to the LDC and/or their billing agent so it can be used to prepare your electricity invoice.
Home Energy Management
Most homeowners can access this energy usage information through a secure LDC web site. New apps and services are also emerging allowing you to monitor (and control) your energy usage.
Smart Metering Charge
The IESO, as Smart Metering Entity, received approval from the Ontario Energy Board to collect a Smart Metering Charge of $0.788, for each Residential and General Service <50kW Customer. This charge recovers the costs to develop and implement the Meter Data Management and Repository (MDM/R) and integrate LDCs and their smart meters onto the system. The
system has been up and running since March 2008 and is operating reliably and