Originally published: August 2, 2011
Last updated: August 2, 2011 - 4:23pm
There are actually two electrical grids being built in the U.S. right now: the "smarter grid," which is evolving around today's outdated infrastructure, and the fully networked, Internet-like smart grid of the future that is much discussed. Both promise an attractive bargain: save money and electricity by radically boosting efficiency and reliability, provide dynamic energy-saving measures and data analysis, and enable massive adoption of electric vehicles and clean renewables.
It also makes people happy, according to a Texas survey recently conducted by the DOE and energy sector firms. Three quarters of Texan households given smart meters that displayed electricity usage data in the home changed their electricity consumption behavior as a result, mostly by turning off lights or adjusting thermostats. Perhaps even more telling, more than 90% reported being satisfied with the meters, and 97% will continue using them. But that survey may be the outlier. In many other states, there is a backlash against the meters, driven by arguments that the costs and benefits may not always be such a win for consumers, reports the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE).
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