Midwestern utilities take cautious steps towards time-of-use pricing


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: The road to dynamic pricing has been slow and arduous. But several programs in the Midwest give hope that it may someday become common. - By Jesse Berst


DTE Energy, which serves Detroit and southeastern Michigan, is about half way through its program to install smart meters for all 2.1 million customers. Now it is experimenting with 1,600 customer-volunteers to test "dynamic peak rate pricing."


Early results suggest that the program is causing the behavior changes DTE was hoping for. "We’ve heard anecdotally about customers who’ve made sustainable changes,” said spokesman Scott Simons to the Midwest Energy News, "such as running dishwashers or washing machines at 11 p.m."


Other Midwestern utilities are experimenting with time-of-use (TOU) pricing, including the Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative and several small Iowa municipals. Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, plans to test TOU next year.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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