AT&T has announced that it plans to decommission it’s 3G communications technology in February 2022. That means any infrastructure that isn’t compatible with the newer 4G technology will no longer work. TNMP, the utility who is responsible for maintaining infrastructure in the parts of Texas where it delivers power, will not be able to complete the conversion of their smart meter network to the 4G mesh network technology required going forward.
Free nights and weekends electricity plans and other similar time-of-use plans have become very popular in Texas. These plans rely on smart meters which rely on telecom networks to communicate information back to the utility companies.
TNMP, the regional utility that delivers electricity to parts of the Texas deregulated market, has announced that it will temporarily not be able to support the functionality that time of use plans rely on. It hasn’t completed the necessary upgrades to be able to work with the 4G network.
The other Texas TDUs (Oncor, CenterPoint, AEP) have already completed necessary upgrades and will not be affected by the changes being made by AT&T. However, TNMP is now stating that they will not be ready when AT&T pulls the plug on the old 3G network. They are blaming Covid and global supply change issues with for their failure to meet the deadline.
This has some electricity providers scrambling to remove time-of-use plans which require communication of not only total usage but what time of day or day of the week the electricity was used.