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Demand response and advanced metering programs have made significant progress in serving more consumers across the country, says a new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report that charts the expansion of these energy-saving programs since 2006.

The report, "2008 Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering," is FERC's third annual report on demand response issues. While it notes progress on overcoming regulatory and financial hurdles over the past three years, the report also points to continuing obstacles (e.g., the limited number of retail customers on time-based rates, restrictions on customer access to meter data and the scale of financial investment necessary to deploy enabling technologies during an economic downturn) that could limit opportunities for continued growth in these programs.

"Demand response is clearly the 'killer application' for the smart grid," says FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff. "By our FERC report gauging progress and identifying continuing barriers to demand response, we can effectively assess our progress in deploying essential smart grid technologies."

The report's conclusions are based on a survey that shows the ratio of advanced meters to all installed meters has reached 4.7% for the U.S. - a significant increase from the less than 1% in 2006. Market penetration of advanced metering programs has risen substantially throughout the country, with the largest increase occurring in peninsular Florida.

On the demand response side, 8% of energy consumers in the U.S. are in some kind of demand response program, and the potential demand response resource contribution from all such U.S. programs is close to 41,000 MW, or 5.8%, of U.S. peak demand. This represents an increase of about 3,400 MW from the 2006 estimate. The largest demand response resource contributions are from the mid-Atlantic, Midwestern and Southeastern regions of the U.S.

For more information, visit www.ferc.gov.

SOURCE: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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