> How is that any different than reporting usage? It still has to report back some number.
If the meter knew the price each hour of the day, it could accumulate the usage in dollars rather than kWh, and report the dollars once a day or even once a month. Nobody would know whether you ran the heater at 3pm or 9pm.
Integrate dollars at the meter or at the central office.
Personally, if I were the utility, I'd try to get the kWh and not the $ so I can check the calculations, not be responsible for missing price updates, help customers know why their bill is so high, understand statistics of customer use to be better able to forecast usage and bid forecasted load into the market. Also, be able to offer "demand management" services such as paying you to let the utility reduce your usage during high-priced hours.