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RULE §25.130Advanced Metering

    (K) the ability to upgrade these features as the need arises.

  (2) A waiver from any of the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection may be granted by the commission if it would be uneconomic or technically infeasible to implement or there is an adequate substitute for that particular requirement. The electric utility must meet its burden of proof in its waiver request.

  (3) In areas where there is not a commission-approved independent regional transmission organization, standards referred to in this section for time tolerance and data transfer and security may be approved by a regional transmission organization approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or, if there is no approved regional transmission organization, by the commission.

  (4) Once an electric utility has deployed its advanced meters, it may add or enhance features provided by AMS, as technology evolves. The electric utility must notify the commission and REPs of any such additions or enhancements at least three months in advance of deployment, with a description of the features, the deployment and notification plan, and the cost of such additions or enhancements, and must follow the monthly progress report process described in subsection (d)(9) of this section until the enhancement process is complete.

(h) Discretionary Meter Services. An electric utility that operates in an area that offers customer choice must offer, as discretionary services in its tariff, installation of enhanced advanced meters and advanced meter features.

  (1) A REP may request the electric utility to provide enhanced advanced meters, additional metering technology, or advanced meter features not specifically offered in the electric utility's tariff, that are technically feasible, generally available in the market, and compatible with the electric utility's AMS.

  (2) The REP must pay the reasonable differential cost for the enhanced advanced meters or features and system changes required by the electric utility to offer those meters or features.

  (3) Upon request by a REP, an electric utility must expeditiously provide a report to the REP that includes an evaluation of the cost and a schedule for providing the enhanced advanced meters or advanced meter features of interest to the REP. The REP must pay a reasonable discretionary services fee for this report. This discretionary services fee must be included in the electric utility's tariff.

  (4) If an electric utility deploys enhanced advanced meters or advanced meter features not addressed in its tariff at the request of the REP, the electric utility must expeditiously apply to amend its tariff to specifically include the enhanced advanced meters or meter features that it agreed to deploy. Additional REPs may request the tariffed enhanced advanced meters or advanced meter features under the process described in this paragraph of this subsection.

(i) Tariff. All discretionary AMS features offered by the electric utility must be described in the electric utility's tariff.

(j) Access to meter data.

  (1) A customer may authorize its meter data to be available to an entity other than its REP. An electric utility must provide a customer, the customer's REP of record, and other entities authorized by the customer read-only access to the customer's advanced meter data, including meter data used to calculate charges for service, historical load data, and any other proprietary customer information. The access must be convenient and secure, and the data must be made available no later than the day after it was created.

  (2) The requirement to provide access to the data begins when the electric utility has installed 2,000 advanced meters for residential and non-residential customers. If an electric utility has already installed 2,000 advanced meters by the effective date of this section, the electric utility must provide access to the data in the timeframe approved by the commission in either the deployment plan or request for surcharge proceeding. If only a notice of deployment has been filed, access to the data must begin no later than six months from the filing of the notice of deployment with the commission.

  (3) An electric utility's or group of electric utilities' web portal must use appropriate and reasonable standards and methods to provide secure access for the customer, the customer's REP of record, and entities authorized by the customer to the meter data. The electric utility must have an independent security audit conducted within one year of providing that access to meter data. The electric utility must promptly report the audit results to the commission.

  (4) The independent organization, regional transmission organization, or regional reliability entity must have access to information that is required for wholesale settlement, load profiling, load research, and reliability purposes.

(k) Cost recovery for deployment of AMS.

  (1) Recovery Method. The commission will establish a nonbypassable surcharge for an electric utility to recover reasonable and necessary costs incurred in deploying AMS to residential customers and nonresidential customers other than those required by the independent system operator to have an interval data recorder meter. The surcharge must not be established until after a detailed deployment plan is filed under subsection (d) of this section. In addition, the surcharge must not ultimately recover more than the AMS costs that are spent, reasonable and necessary, and fully allocated, but may include estimated costs that will be reconciled pursuant to paragraph (6) of this subsection. As indicated by the definition of AMS in subsection (c)(2) of this section, the costs for facilities that do not perform the functions and have the features specified in this section must not be included in the surcharge provided for by this subsection unless an electric utility has received a waiver under subsection (g)(2) of this section. The costs of providing AMS services include those costs of AMS installed as part of a pilot program under this section. Costs of providing AMS for a particular customer class must be surcharged only to customers in that customer class.

  (2) Carrying Costs. The annualized carrying-cost rate to be applied to the unamortized balance of the AMS capital costs must be the electric utility's authorized weighted-average cost of capital (WACC). If the commission has not approved a WACC for the electric utility within the last four years, the commission may set a new WACC to apply to the unamortized balance of the AMS capital costs. In each subsequent rate proceeding in which the commission resets the electric utility's WACC, the carrying-charge rate that is applied to the unamortized balance of the utility's AMS costs must be correspondingly adjusted to reflect the new authorized WACC.

  (3) Surcharge Proceeding. In the request for surcharge proceeding, the commission will set the surcharge based on a levelized amount, and an amortization period based on the useful life of the AMS. The commission may set the surcharge to reflect a deployment of advanced meters that is up to one-third of the electric utility's total meters over each calendar year, regardless of the rate of actual AMS deployment. The actual or expected net operating cost savings from AMS deployment, to the extent that the operating costs are not reflected in base rates, may be considered in setting the surcharge. If an electric utility that requests a surcharge does not have an approved deployment plan, the commission in the surcharge proceeding may reconcile the costs that the electric utility already spent on AMS in accordance with paragraph (6) of this subsection and may approve a deployment plan.

  (4) General Base Rate Proceeding while Surcharge is in Effect. If the commission conducts a general base rate proceeding while a surcharge under this section is in effect, then the commission will include the reasonable and necessary costs of installed AMS equipment in the base rates and decrease the surcharge accordingly, and permit reasonable recovery of any non-AMS metering equipment that has not yet been fully depreciated but has been replaced by the equipment installed under an approved deployment plan.

  (5) Annual Reports. An electric utility must file annual reports with the commission updating the cost information used in setting the surcharge. The annual reports must include the actual costs spent to date in the deployment of AMS and the actual net operating cost savings from AMS deployment and how those numbers compare to the projections used to set the surcharge. During the annual report process, an electric utility may apply to update its surcharge, and the commission may set a schedule for such applications. For a levelized surcharge, the commission may alter the length of the surcharge collection period based on review of information concerning changes in deployment costs or operating costs savings in the annual report or changes in WACC. An annual report filed with the commission will not be a ratemaking proceeding, but an application by the electric utility to update the surcharge must be a ratemaking proceeding.

  (6) Reconciliation Proceeding. All costs recovered through the surcharge must be reviewed in a reconciliation proceeding on a schedule to be determined by the commission. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the electric utility may request multiple reconciliation proceedings, but no more frequently than once every three years. There is a presumption that costs spent in accordance with a deployment plan or amended deployment plan approved by the commission are reasonable and necessary. Any costs recovered through the surcharge that are found in a reconciliation proceeding not to have been spent or properly allocated, or not to be reasonable and necessary, must be refunded to electric utility's customers. In addition, the commission will make a final determination of the net operating cost savings from AMS deployment used to reduce the amount of costs that ultimately can be recovered through the surcharge. Accrual of interest on any refunded or surcharged amounts resulting from the reconciliation must be at the electric utility's WACC and must begin at the time the under or over recovery occurred.

  (7) Cross-subsidization and fees. The electric utility must account for its costs in a manner that ensures there is no inappropriate cost allocation, cost recovery, or cost assignment that would cause cross-subsidization between utility activities and non-utility activities. The electric utility shall not charge a disconnection or reconnection fee that was approved by the commission prior to the effective date of this rule, for a disconnection or reconnection that is effectuated using the remote disconnection or connection capability of an advanced meter.

Source Note: The provisions of this §25.130 adopted to be effective May 30, 2007, 32 TexReg 2836; amended to be effective May 10, 2020, 45 TexReg 2865

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