Smart meters have become an little known scam perpetrated by Texas utility companies and the smart meter manufacturers.
Here in Texas, the public utility commission (PUC) approved the installation of smart meters to be paid for by the homeowners via a tax now added to all electric bills. There was no option for homeowners to decline and opt out - it was a mandate.
The scam begins with the savings the utility companies will reap via the elimination of meter reading costs going forward - that alone should have encouraged the utility companies to pay for the installations themselves. Secondly, through the installation of the smart meters, the utility companies then gain the ability to generate new revenue streams by offering internet access - that extra hardware paid for by the customer too.
And btw, the first smart meters the utility companies initially bought, then decided not to use, will also be paid for by the Texas homeowners.
I am sure that some good may be realized by the installation of smart meters, but here there seems to have been some shenanigans between the PUC and the utilities. Verizon pays for their fiber optics to the home equipment installations. the cable companies pay for their infrastructure equipment as well. The electric utilities must be smiling all the way to the bank to have their equipment paid for by the homeowners. Others might keep their eyes open to see this same cost shifting ploy does not quietly happen in their state.
Alas, I am rather jaded by all this green paraphernalia. I was recently working a green job as a design engineer where we were told by the utilities and VCs that shaving customer electric consumption 10-80% was not wanted because that really meant a revenue loss to utilities. The products I designed demonstrated that if homeowners selectively reduced (i.e. AMI, home automation) heavy loads like AC, clothes driers (i.e. Water, resistive heaters), ovens, and such, then most of their daytime needs could be met (or exceeded (net metering)) with some solar panels on their roofs and/or wind power. At night, consumption was greatly reduced using storage batteries. Without batteries, the consumption used would still be greatly reduced if energy efficient devices were installed. Over the years energy companies told my boss this revenue rational and he finally threw up this hands and said, why do this or keep engineers around to design technology that is not wanted? Now if we could figure out how to sell/divert electricity to/from select customers at the prices produces/traders want to charge (we designed that too and carbon taxing, it was not a pretty sight), then business would look into that as a viable option because that increases revenue or reduced their costs. Real time conservation was the customer’s problem. Sadly, what engineers see as the Smart Grid (efficiency) and what business sees as the Smart Grid (revenue) may not be the same. Customers will not realize this until the bill comes due.
Quite interresting article, but with smart grid we are just forgetting the main point which is to reduce drastically our power consumption. If we we want to keep CO2 emission at a reasonable level and then limit global warming US has to reduce by a factor of 5 to 8 and europe by a factor of 3 to 5 assuming China and India will remain in a very reasonable increase in that domain. Yes it is really extremely challenging and the solutuon will not come from smart grid. Smart grid is just a way of continuing to have the same power consumption in maximizing the eficiency of the existing assets, a pure finacial view but not a t all in line of what is really needed for this planet and to guarantee an acceptable life for our kids!!!
As soon as I saw "50 year old FERRITE cores" on transformers, this man's opinion/vision lost ALL credibility and stank of the possibility of shilling for one of his smartgrid cybersecurity portfolio companies using the old FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) technique of marketing promotion. "We have no means to control it [the transformer]" furthers my point.
"Control of transformers"...sheesh...what's Vinod gonna do? Change the turns ratio if there's a "hack-a-thon".......more like a "hacksaw-a-thon" would be needed, LOL
Agreed. I think feedback from networked meters and control of appliances to manage peak-load is a smart step. I dont think that smart metering and smart grid is just a marketing push by interested parties. I believe, these are neccessary to avoid large grids and for energy efficiency in general.
Hmmmm...so it's not as universal as I thought. Is there a lot of electric water heating in the States? In Aussie there is, though there is a push (via subsidies and incentives) to change to Solar and/or gas. Mine's gas so I can't get a solar subsidy. But it does make sense to use remote control of water heaters to reduce demand, and it works well as long as the switch-off is not so long that that water gets cold.
Zimbabwe currently has major power problems so the hot water is turned off most of the time. (In fact the power is off a lot of the time...) One reason I am now in Australia.
Very interesting Asho, since this is not at all common in the U.S. Here, demand management so far is voluntary and controlled by the homeowner. For example, many of us can sign up for a time-of-use pricing plan in which consumers save money by shifting more of their electricity usage to off-peak hours. For it to be effective, consumers must voluntarily change their behavior and how they control their own power usage.
My local power company recently installed a networked meter at my house, so they no longer need to send someone out to physically read the meter. But they still can't control my usage, short of killing power to my entire house -- actually to many homes at once.
"As a home owner I doubt I would allow any external control over my appliances".
You probably already do, certainly in both the countries I have lived in (Zimbabwe and Australia) the utility can switch off your electric water heating remotely to reduce peak load, I'm sure this is pretty universal.
Am I a cynic or a realist?
I can't always tell.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." – George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)
So you're both!!
Surely the benefit of smart meters is to the utility, who can read them without sending a (costly) employee round to read the meter?
With modern networking technology it should be possible (in fact mandatory) for the utility smart grid network to be separate from the corporate network and internet, but hackers have a habit of finding their way around that....