I have had a smart meter for over a year and am not happy with it. My roof is covered in solar panels. My "true-up" payment at the end of 2009 was around $300. The same payment at the end of 2010 after the installation of a smart meter was over $1,000. I seriously doubt my power consumption increased over 3X in 2010 vs. 2009. The other big concern about smart grid is security. Either personal, as in someone hacking my house to steal power or cause other issues or wide spread as in a malicious attack to take down the whole grid. This should be the first thing that is solved before we start installation of a so-called smart grid.
Tony, thank you for reporting on the communications initiatives for smarter energy use which puts the responsibility on both the provider and the consumer. I agree with you that layers of security will need to be added. What type of technologies are currently being used to safeguard against this now? Also, how will companies and consumers manage the infrastructure? Will electric companies have some sort of management console and will consumers be able to, for example, monitor usage and receive alerts via mobile devices? Maybe there could be a point or reward system for those in groups using energy efficiently. In Austin, TX, Austin Energy has voluntary Energy Savers all over town who agree to respond to their energy usage based on notifications from them so that they, in effect, help to consciously decrease usage during peak times. I will definitely keep reading your articles and updates about this topic as it relates to new urbanism as well.