Smart grid — what’s in it for us? That’s the question that big industrial and commercial power customers are asking of the multi-billion dollar smart grid push that will eventually extend into the buildings they own, according to a recent opinion piece by Bob Zak, president of Powerit Solutions. As far as he’s concerned, it’s not clear that utilities are making the right pitch to their biggest power users. He should know, working for a company that specializes in industrial power management gear made to link to smart grid and demand response programs. Without smart buildings to talk to the smart grid, big industrial and commercial clients could find that new technology doesn’t really yield a payback. After all, if your building can’t react to demand response signals, it can’t really capitalize on the opportunity to shed power load to make money. Things could get even worse as utilities move more toward time-of-use and variable power pricing to get customers to lower power use during peak demand times, since those that don’t upgrade their own buildings could be stuck paying much higher power costs.