Utilities continue to monitor residential time-of-use (TOU) programs and the ways automated meter reading technology can facilitate these efforts, but the bottom line is few are emphasizing rate-variant pricing for residential customers. Only about 28% of utilities have or anticipate having residential time-of-use programs within the next three to five years, while about 60% have no plans to do so, according to Residential Time-of-Use: The Pros, Cons and How-tos, a new publication from Atlanta-based Chartwell.

Additionally, about 9% of utilities use or plan to use automated meter reading (AMR) technology for time-of- use programs, while another 22% of utilities are considering such a move, according to Chartwell's exclusive survey of 115 utilities.

Puget Sound Energy recently cancelled its highly publicized TOU program, but is a rate-variable pricing offering right for your utility? That is one of the questions Chartwell set out to answer in Residential Time-of-Use: The Pros, Cons and How-tos.

Customer control, price-responsiveness, and an on- peak rate that is at least double the peak rate are among the critical ingredients of successful time-of-use programs aimed at the mass market. The report examines the lessons learned from Puget Sound Energy's Personal Energy Management program, the keys to success of Gulf Power's load management offering, and the types of utilities that may be interested in TOU rates.