The United States has approximately 125 million residential and small business “single phase” electrical customers. Each and every customer has an electrical utility meter. Because of the average age of the installed base of meters and because of the utility’s desire to reduce operational costs of billing, over 100 million of the meters will be replaced with a modern solid state electronics communicating “smart meter” by 2018.
Collectively, the nation’s 1,200 utilities bill each customer $1800 on average annually. That is a total of $225 billion moved by the industry annually.
The utility meter is referred to in the industry as the utility’s cash register. Unlike a store which has a few cash registers ringing up sales on hundreds, even thousands, of customers a day, every utility customer has this cash register at their home or small business.
Today’s new smart meters operate in a distributed system meaning that part of the utility’s cash register is comprised of the utility meter located at the customer’s premise, part of the cash register system is located at the utility company or contract billing service, and part of the cash register system is comprised of mobile devices giving customers access to use, cost and billing data.
Pay as you go
“Pay as you go” is a revolutionary utility industry payment program. It allows electricity customers to pay their bill on a daily, weekly or monthly basis at their choice. The customer receives an up to the minute bill on his or her smart phone and can simply pay the outstanding balance by the click of a button at any time. It works by coupling the utility customer’s smart meter and smart phone through a wireless radio link supported by all new smart meters. In conjunction with the EnergyCite® utility electronic funds transfer network the mobile smart phone or PC application software allows the customer to pay the electric bill at any time from any source of money available to them. Payments can be deducted from a bank checking account, credit card and the like. This is an especially valuable and needed service for credit challenged customers who may have a difficult time saving enough money to pay a large bill at the end of the month.
This concept of real time subscriber side billing and electronic funds transfer was first proposed by USCL at the time we wrote the DM-06 smart meter specifications for Southern California Edison in 2006 and is disclosed in our granted U.S. patent 7, 379,791. Our granted U.S. patent 8,639,390 provides specific claims for the distributed network system embodiment required to accomplish this.
EnergyCite® and its technology partner USCL Corp (Utility Services Customer Link) become the PayPal of the utility industry. The firm’s revenue is generated through a transaction fee each and every time a payment is made.
As of Q1 2016, there is an installed base of 60 million smart meters capable of supporting this network. By 2020 that number will exceed 100 million meters. If 10% of these customers were on this plan today and paid a 50 cent transaction fee twice a month, $72 million in annual transaction fees would result. In actuality the numbers will be larger with additional products and services.
The USCL patents cover this distributed network data acquisition, machine to machine telecommunications network and billing operation. The “single end user” is the utility company because it owns each and every power meter and enables its operation.
In order for the utility companies to use this new system it must either legally practice the USCL patents and IP or it becomes an “infringer.” Various meter and meter communications manufacturers must also be licensed and approved by USCL as they “contribute” to the chain of use. USCL becomes a licensing company who will charge royalties based on the value of the utility/customer cash transaction which occurs perpetually for the life of the patent and its customers.
The following video discussion by USCL’s Israeli patent council and Tom Tamarkin discusses the issues of patent monetization and the concepts of “single end user” and “Distributed Network Systems” at about 7 minutes into the discussion.