BPU edges closer to smart meters, asks utilities for cost-benefit analyses

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TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – Most of the country has embraced smart meters, but not New Jersey. With the state charting a green energy future, along with pressure to reduce power outages and their duration, some are saying: Why not now?

More than 70 million Americans have smart meters — a two-way communications network between a utility and its customers. The systems, also known as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), help ratepayers better manage energy use and reduce monthly bills, according to advocates.

AMI also may help utilities pinpoint power outages, respond more quickly when they occur, and restore electricity more rapidly. After years of punting on the issue, state regulators are taking a new look at the benefits, upsides, and costs of smart meters, asking utilities to submit cost-benefit analyses on whether AMI can improve storm responses following a series of nor’easters this spring that left hundreds of thousands without power …

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