The smart home concept appeared a lot of time ago and now this concept can be put into practice thanks to the advancing of wireless technologies. My aunt found out about the opportunities the smart home gives after she bought bedroom furniture for her kids, she decided to try it out and now she got so used to it.
My nephew installed such an eMeter in his house after he saw an ad at the TV about it, he was very interested to create an user-friendly home and this was the best option besides installing drains from DesignerDrains.com. He bought electric, water, and gas meters that offered smart connectivity and he is very pleased by his idea to install them, the other day he made a surprise for his wife and adjusted the thermostat when he was at work.
@Robotics Developer: kudos! Thanks for injecting a lot of commonsense! Much of the smart grid industries would do well if they stay OUT of consumer's homes. I have rigorously argued in conferences (like ConnWeek) that utilities do NOT need visibility inside the house as to how the consumer is using/saving energy. They should just stick to transmission & distribution. The only smartness needed here is the capability to meter and monitor consumer-generated power (like solar roofs) and this can be done at the meter, smart or otherwise!
You are right, this sounds too much Orwellian.
Well we have recently had smart electricity meter installed. Communication is via secured wireless to the utility company, so no access to the data directly from the meter. The utility says that maybe in a year or two they will allow access to the data, but would be updated about once an hour or so.
Thus no real-time data that would help with conserving energy.
Robotics Developer makes many good points.
For me, having a "smart home" networked in such a way as having a third party have access to my homes "innards", let alone a degree of control, is definitely not my cup of tea.
If you ever worry about major infrastructure networks being hacked - which has happened more than once - then you have to worry about any home network with outside access being very vulnerable. Why invite that kind of invasion?
What happens in the US when one fails to pay the electricity bill? Does the electric company 'cut' the power line to your home? In Mexico, that's what happens. I suppose that using Smart eMeters will give the companies the power to cut the line remotely whenever we forget to pay the bill. This would become a money saving opportunity for the electric companies. I think all this about Smart grid is really beneficial to the companies, the vendors, not that much for us consumers. Anyway, seems to be the right thing to do.
I could not help feeling this was a marketing blitz type of article for the smart grid / connected home industries. While having the ability to adjust and control your own home's heat/lights/oven etc remotely is a nice thing, it is not really needed! Just having some smarts (programmable thermostats) would allow for all these things to be programed in advance. The whole smart grid is both very invasive and too Orwellian for my taste. As it is, energy efficient refrigerator/freezers save a lot of energy but at a cost of very limited cooling. Maybe our house use is different than others but we shop once a week, bring the food home (already starting to warm up from the drive home)and put it into the frig/freezer. It takes forever to cool down that much thermal mass as a direct result of the reduction in cooling capacity dictated by the energy efficient design. What would be more helpful would be a variable cooling capacity unit that uses only as much energy as needed to get the temps down where they should be. I do have to laugh at the concept of the fully connected power grid. Right now here in New England when we lose power the power company does not even know it. The power company does not have the ability to detect and localize power outages remotely and must send crews out to inspect the lines! How can we (not that I would want it) expect to have our homes monitored by the power company if they don't even have in place now the infrastructure needed to diagnose basic transformer issues and downed power lines? Not to mention that I don't need the government telling me (or my AC/furnace) that I can't cool/heat my home the way I want to. And don't get me going on Global Warming!
"A solution to resolve the security issue would be to move the smart grid to a cloud." To my knowledge, smart grid is serving electricity and the cloud is the Internet. Therefore, either smart grid is already in the cloud or is going to merge with the cloud. Merging smart grid with the cloud will increase flexibility of administration and management. Yet, imo, it will impose more security challenges since it will naturally become target of hackers.