According to the Board it is not considered economically prudent to have numerous distributors piloting the same technology or technology that has already been deployed within the province.
Moreover the Board expects that a properly structured smart meter pilot should provide an opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of commissioning and operating smart meter systems, including business processes, installation procedures, logistics, deployment, integration issues, customer communications and customer impacts.
In terms of the guidelines distributors may only install smart meters and directly related metering equipment, systems and technology for a maximum of 5 percent of its customer base or 200 customers, whichever is greater. In addition the costs of the pilot must be reasonable and less than the funds collected by the distributorÂ’s 2006 smart meter rate adder.
And the distributor must share the results and knowledge gained through the pilot with the Board and the public six months after the initial meter installation and within two months of the completion of the pilot.
To date 13 electricity distributors have been authorized by regulation to undertake smart meter deployment activities in Ontario, which has committed to having smart electricity meters installed in 800,000 homes and small businesses by the end of 2007 and throughout the province by the end of 2010.
The proposed guidelines are open for comment by interested parties up to November 20, 2007.