I was interested in learning more about this "Smart Grid" thingy I keep hearing about and fount my way to this USA Today article
The atticle contained the following about "Smart Meters."
"Smart meters. Today, most consumers pay the same price for electricity, day or night. Digital meters let utilities offer variable prices to reflect wholesale power costs, like cellphone plans. Rates are typically highest at midday, when electricity usage peaks, and lowest in the wee hours.
Smart meters already are in 5% of U.S. homes and businesses, up from 1% two years ago, though many don't offer variable pricing yet. The devices will be linked to 40% of homes in five years, a recent FERC report says.
Consumers that choose time-of-use pricing are prodded to cut air conditioning use on hot days when the grid is stressed and shift, say, their laundry to later in the evening. Utilities avoid building plants needed only at peak hours. Customers on variable pricing in southern Illinois save about 10% on their bills, says program coordinator CNT Energy.
Companies such as GE are developing appliances that run at low levels when prices are high or turn on only after prices drop. Trilliant's software will even let consumers program their home networks from their iPhones."
Smart meters are only one of the elements of the "Smart Electric Grid" according to what I've read. A big element of the plan is a new backbone of transmission lines and equipment to move electricity from as yet unbuilt windmill and solar farms to places where electricity is needed.
One of the questions I have about this is whether this will be as economical as buillding conventional generating plants closer to the places that need the power. I suspect it won't be and I suspect the costs will be spread borne by consumers whether they will get power from the new sources or not.
But, my suspicions are really aroused by the Smart Meter. Right now I pay a flat rate for electricity. With the smart meter, I'll pay more for electricity used during the day when I need it and less during off-peak hours when I don't need it. Ummm...
This may be smart for the grid but it ain't smart for the consumer. I think this is all about three things:
1. Finding excuses for not building coal and nuclear power plants.
2. Managing a planned shortage of energy.
3. Imposing more creative ways of taxing the use of electricity.
Where am I wrong?