Smart grid: Time to re-think how we're doing it?


By: SGN Staff


A lot of time and money has been devoted to advanced metering infrastructure with economic justifications that society benefits from demand reduction and consumer behavior changes. But Ron Chebra, VP of management and operations consulting for DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, pulls back, takes a long view and asks if we really know it's working and if there is a better way to ensure smart grid success.


He highlights why it may be time to re-examine how we're handling it in a very thoughtful blog piece, Should advanced metering infrastructure take a back seat to distribution automation?


He notes that it may be tough to gauge the contribution of AMI to real customer behavior changes. Yes, knowing customer participation rates, "stickiness" of participation and demand response fatigue are good things to know and take into account, he says. But he adds that many utilities seem to be shying away from the difficulty of that process and sticking with the "normal" way of conducting business.


To get the return on investment we want from advanced metering, there needs to be a "...saturation level (meters remotely read) before any significant operational savings can be accrued. Whereas, in a distribution automation (DA) environment, one may elect to surgically deploy technology with 'trouble' circuits, and avoid blanketing the entire service area with a network."


No, Chebra is not saying AMI is taking a back seat to distribution automation. He is suggesting that AMI can be a strategic asset for it.


Care to weigh in? Read his post at and share your thoughts in the Talk Back form below.