Consumers, Utilities and the Smart Grid

Michael Giberson

One point made here once or twice in the past is that consumers need to pay attention if they hope to get the most from the spread of smart grid technology. Another tale that makes this point comes from Energy Circle, “Smart Meters: Are Consumers An Afterthought?“:

As a resident of Toronto, I am privileged to live in a house equipped with a Smart Meter provided by Toronto Hydro. I also work at Energy Circle, which means I have been witness to the extraordinary power of real-time monitoring. Yesterday, I contacted Hydro to find out when we could expect our Smart Meter to start providing us with real-time data about our electricity use, so that we could start to benefit from the lessons gained by tracking and reducing our energy usage. The news isn’t great.

Follow the link to the story to see the rest of the not-so-great news.

ADDED: And for another story in the “not-so-great” category, pointed out in a comment by “Fat Man”: in France a regulator has concluded a company offering distributed energy management services should pay the electric company for the power it helps consumers save.

The company says its “distributive load shedding” technology can save users as much as 10 percent on their electricity bills and save power producers billions in investments in new plants used only to meet peak demand. Voltalis’s business model assumes the grid operator pays Voltalis for help in maintaining supply and demand equilibrium.

But the regulatory commission ruled that Voltalis should pay the power company because “its service would not be possible without the producer maintaining production.”

… Jean-Louis Borloo, the French energy and environment minister, backed the regulators in their decision. But on Monday, perhaps because of the rising political heat, he said he would appoint a working group to propose the legal and regulatory changes necessary “to favor energy-saving and respect the interest of all the parties involved.” The panel is to report back by year’s end.

2 thoughts on “Consumers, Utilities and the Smart Grid

  1. Voltalis… They’ll love to shock their fingers on your hair. 😉

    (OK, maybe only Ed is old enough to get it. Here’s to you, Ed!)

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