Why the Smart Grid Won’t Look Like the Internet Anytime Soon


[qi:_earth2tech] If you thought the consumer portion of the smart grid would look a lot like the Internet — a real-time, two-way network with innovative services and applications — think again. Most of the utilities’ smart meter rollouts are designed around networks that collect smart meter data in 15-60 minute intervals, and then can only deliver energy consumption information back to the customer a good 24 hours later. That’s not exactly a smart network, and even worse, without real-time functionality (whereby a consumer can see the cost of energy rise, in real time, during peak use hours, or how much energy an appliance consumes, in real time) it will be more difficult to change consumption behavior, which defeats the purpose of installing the smart meter systems in the first place. Sure there will be home energy management products that bypass the utility systems, but without utility support, they’ll be a long time coming.


Benjamin Random

Meter data propagated through the utility may be slow; but on-demand meter reading is still possible and some utilities are rolling out technology that allows an in-home device to communicate directly (e.g. wirelessly) to its meter.

P G & E, for example, is rolling out Silver Spring Network’s technology, which can do exactly this. The utility may not be fully utilizing the technology now but you can bet they will when the time is right.

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