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ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?

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Code Monkey
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
Code Monkey   10/18/2010 2:41:29 PM
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Thank goodness Solar is becoming cost effective!

Pwr
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
Pwr   6/29/2010 5:58:47 PM
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Being familiar with some smart grid products, there are a some considerations that people should be aware of before deciding whether it is a great thing. 1) Remote disconnect of power. Great for keeping utility employees from having to show up in an unsavory neighborhood to disconnect power. Great target with enormous impact for hackers, terrorists, or enemy states like China or Iran. 2) Detailed water usage monitoring. Allows water companies to detect leaks, unexpected conditions, theft, etc. Also allows automation of usage restrictions by detecting lawn watering, pool usage, or any other usage outside configured parameters. Filling up your kids inflatable pool may trigger an automated fine. Automated systems are more prone to systematic failure. These systems are already in place. On another issue, the much ballyhooed "cost savings" has not one iota of proof. I'm certain that there will be no cost savings to the consumer from these systems. The article started out with one of the real motivators, product sales for tech companies. The cost will be picked up by consumers, and the updates and the revisions and the transition to upgraded technology and ... The life span of these products isn't 20 years like when I started engineering, its 5 years. I've seen cost comparisons done by analysts involved in designing and selling such systems. Comparing having most of the functions done by people, such as meter readers, and by electronic systems, and the cost of the automated systems is significantly higher. What is needed is more power generation capability, more energy efficient products, more flexible generation. Nuclear power has been increasingly used worldwide, except in the U.S. The U.S. should help rather than hinder safe nuclear power generation efforts. The anti-everything crowd is now the establishment. They can keep attacking power and oil companies, beef production companies, etc. but I hope they quickly realize they rely just as much on lighting, heat, cooling, and food as the rest of us. Otherwise we're going to have a shortage of all these things.

RAF19240
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
RAF19240   5/11/2010 7:14:44 PM
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I drive an EV today and have ToU metering on my roofmounted PV array. My charger pulls 6.5kW and is used twice weekly, at off-peak rates. I don't mind having a warning flag that I'll be charged 3rd, 4th of 5th tier rates, yet doubt I'd be prohibited from charging anytime I want under these proposed schemes. They'll just soak me when I do. Meanwhile, I can help utilities with such distributed generation when they need it. (Eventually they'll be happy to pay me for that, when others like myself form a group where our aggregated power yields more a responsive ancillary service to utilities. Instead of 10 minute response this could provide less than 30 second response. All the protocol has yet to be finalized but the concepts have been proven in limited field tests already.) I'm more interested in saving money than worried about someone profiling my power usage. What can they do with that? Big deal! Predictability of usage is important for stability of the power grid. Lumped distributed system modeling like what synchrophasors (PMCU) could do for state measurements is a new frontier (read job opportunity)! Progress is what we need. I'm all for it.

t.alex
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
t.alex   5/5/2010 6:20:10 AM
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Privacy and system security are one of the concerns I believe. Imagine one day some malicious hackers can easily shutdown power of your house!

Avagadro
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
Avagadro   4/8/2010 7:13:16 AM
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There are products being developed today that can monitor power consumption for specific (and named) devices inside the home. It is not hard to extrapolate that this information WILL find a way back to those who will use it for a variety of unintended purposes. While many may not feel that such information is "private," imagine a world where anyone could access your utility bill and could view: (1) how many times you operated your dryer (2) how many times your irrigation system was operated (3) and how many times you "willfully" violated "peak demand times," thus creating a "hardship" for the balance of the community. (4) And the power used for your pool or SPA And once the TOTAL power is known and the total specific monitored power becomes available, imagine the DEA (or equivalent) doing some simple math and determining that "most everything in the house is covered, but there is this LARGE block of power that we can't account for -- maybe they are growing POT" - and then the warrant is issued..... Far fetched? Now they won't need FLIR and choppers to close in on the perps. Think of the savings! What other ideas are out there for privacy violations?? If these simple ideas can be developed in a EETIMES blog, imagine what the tax-hungry politicians in "broke" CA can come up with. I am sure that they will devise a way to use the information to cost you more money in taxes and penalties all based on "carbon footprint, global warming, being a responsible citizen, luxury tax, etc. While I applaud Mr. Johnson's tenacity re keeping his appliances running, once the monitoring starts, Big Bro will KNOW that you have a renegade appliance, and will be charging you the "non-monitoring" fee for each appliance that isnt "compliant" (i.e. communications ready), so they will get their pound of flesh one way or another. And think of the shame your family must endure when the POWER MONITOR WEB SITE shows that your family is "out of compliance." Imagine the protests in your front yard from the green neighbors! But I wouldn't worry - nothing like this could happen in the US!!

amg
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
amg   4/7/2010 4:41:42 PM
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I guess part of the difference is that as a rural electric co-op, WE, the end user, are the owners of the company and if load control gives us a better return, we embrace the minor inconvenience. Funny that I never thought of peak load control as an invasion of my privacy. Oh yeah, and as a consumer I have no control over when the load control is initiated. The only guidelines I am aware of are that our co-op does not extend load control after 11:00 PM unless something like a co-op owned power plant goes off line and we would have to buy power off the grid at a premium. Like everything else, global warming, cap and trade, healthcare reform, alternative energy subsidies, it always about the money.

Tim R Johnson
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
Tim R Johnson   4/7/2010 12:12:24 AM
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If the power company wants to charge differnt rates at different times of the day using a smart meter, that is their perogative. However, it should stop there. I will NEVER buy an appliance that can be controlled remotely by someone else unless I have no other choice. I would rather pay to have my current dumb appliances repaired again and again than buy a new appliance that invades privacy.

Avagadro
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
Avagadro   4/6/2010 9:59:01 PM
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Biker Bill, How is that any different from being forced to pay for health insurance? How is it any different from having a CAP and TRADE tax imposed on your family and business to combat "green house gases?" How is it any different from the huge government subsidies for Solar PV and Solar Thermal? ANSWER - the free market is quickly becoming toast and the government is smarter than all of us worker bees.

BicycleBill
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
BicycleBill   4/6/2010 7:55:47 PM
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Thanks for your comment, but is there a fundamental difference between voluntary time-shifting and mandated usage restrictions? Be there, and we can discuss!

amg
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re: ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
amg   4/6/2010 5:33:58 PM
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Not being able to wash clothes between 3:00 and 5:00 is nothing new to many of us Electric Co-op customers who see real savings by taking advantage of the reduced rate off-peak usage that come along with the temporary denial of service on select appliances. In our house it is the water heater and clothes dryer, but we only pay 5.5 cents per KWh when using them and the off times are few and far between.

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