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Bringing the Smart Grid to the Smart Home: It’s Not Only About the Meter
Jan 13, 2010
By Bill Ablondi . The market for residential energy management is poised to grow dramatically due to increased consumer demand and new government and industry initiatives. Frequently, and for good reason, the discussions about this emerging market focus on the expansion of Smart Grids as these solutions enable electricity distribution systems to manage alternative energy sources (e.g., solar and wind), improve reliability, facilitate faster response rates to outages, and manage peak-load demands. The first step in implementing a Smart Grid is building an Advanced Metering Infrastructure ( AMI). A key component of AMI is the smart meter, which is a digital meter capable of processing and reporting usage data to providers and households via two-way communication with the utility offices. Parks Associates forecasts that there will be over 40 million smart meters installed in U.S. households by 2012 (Figure 1), but installing a smart meter on a residence is only the first step. Questions remain on how best to put together all the Smart-Grid elements in a way that appeals to consumers and employs technology in the most effective manner. The first, most fundamental concern is whether or not consumers will use the smart meter once it is on the house. Smart meters with the proper user interfaces allow consumers to read and respond to real-time household power consumption, but will they be reluctant to pay for these devices? Will consumers enroll in utility programs that employ the full capabilities of these meters? .
THE TUESDAY TOPIC
© 2010 need gutsy leadership on We SmartGridNews Figure 1: Households with AMI-capable Meters
energy issues – and Congress isn't providing it
Last week we talked about Europe having a higher smart grid IQ than the U.S. Utilities over there are able to tap into a larger social agenda. Unfortunately in the U.S., we have a leadership void in Congress when it comes to defining energy goals or forward-thinking policies. Is there a fix?
Parks Associates conducted a national survey as part of its Residential Energy Management service to determine consumer mindset regarding energy management solutions: · · · Over 80% of consumers are very interested in learning how to cut their energy costs, but less than one-half want to learn more about Smart Grids. 80-85% of households are willing to pay $80-$100 for cost-saving equipment if they are guaranteed to save 10-30% off their monthly electricity bills (Figure 2). Only 15-20% of consumers are likely to sign up for time-of-use or demand-response programs; 35% do not want utilities to control systems in their home regardless of the savings potential.
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In order to maximize Smart Grids. Stay connected with SGN … · Get LinkedIn with Jesse · Be a Fan on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter · · Try our RSS feed Get our email digest · Talk Back to the Author Demand Side Innovations Current Comments (11) Leave a Comment In order to have low cost and/or high value service. Visit www. is the premier conference studying the market for residential energy management and Smart Grid technologies. Tex. in the comming future.com for more information. As can be inferred from the Electricity Without Price Controls (EWPC) article. Ph.. consumers should be allow to decide for themselves if they want to pay for resources of the demand side.smartenergysummit2010. http://www. Smart Energy Summit Bringing the Smart Grid to the smart home requires engaging the consumer. Home Area Networks Metering . and real-world expertise derived from Austin Energy's Smart Grid.01/13/2010 . 25-27..ly /8LtybG ). at the very least they had the expectation their bills would not go up! PG&E doesn't seem to be doing anything to explain the time of use rate features of smart meters.14:12 Hear. a market analyst and research company. Related SGN resources ." the power industry will get to a dead end with regulated Investor Owned Utilities Architecture Framework incremental extension DSM products. Think Demand Side Innovation (DSI)( http://bit. Hear! The utilities missed this one! Out west. · Less than 5% of households have any type of electronic lighting system. Accomplishing this fundamental but challenging task is the focus of Smart Energy Summit in Austin. featuring results from Parks Associates' landmark Residential Energy Management service.Smart Grid: Bringing the Smart Grid to the Smart Home: It’s Not Only .. utilities and suppliers of energy management solutions must first educate consumers about the benefits of these advanced systems and then package these solutions so that capabilities and advantages are obvious to consumers and easily integrated into their lifestyles. José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio. The event features a unique combination of market research. Figure 2: Households Willing to Pay for Energy Saving Equipment Smart Grids can be potent tools in helping consumers reduce their energy costs. PG&E is converting many areas to smart meters. .. but 55% are very interested in light-dimming systems that can save them money.S.smartgridnews. What a major faux pas in setting the customers expectations! I believe most consumers assumed that their bill would go down with the new meters.. as it happen in other industries. Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer. Bill Ablondi is Director of Home Systems Research for Parks Associates. 2 of 5 2/12/2010 9:58 PM . but consumers have several concerns that could inhibit adoption. the largest working Smart Grid in the U. . on Jan. when what is needed is a competition on DSIs that they will only know later on.. like for example an average metering infrastructure they may no need for many years. hosted by Parks Associates in association with Austin Energy.D.com/artman/publish/Technologies_Meterin. and they were surprised by many people complaining about their bills going up. "Forget Demand Side management (DSM)..
but it is really on the first step. I predict a tsunami backlash against dynamic pricing. I read an interesting article which called this MTKD .smartgridnews. Then competing dialtone providers (CLECs). or modem. We have good standards work out of the gate this time (UtilityAMI's OpenHAN looks like a very good piece of work for this point in history). Utilities need to provide well-designed education and assistance. When the rest of the country starts facing price increases and tiered pricing structures as seen in California. I am all for measurement . real stuff. and a good way for consumers to save money based on real costs of their consumption.14:15 Home Energy Efficiency Thank you for posting this very informative article. I would be very interested in learning more about the survey and the report. http://www. Also. The meter reader never reset the time switch to the correct time of day. which isn't selling power. Now we have IP telephony (which some might say could use more regulation). I think dynamic pricing is very reasonable. Really cheap. for an off-peak rate. which is good in one way as they were many printed pages. Home owners are simply getting information about their consumption .15:59 Does measurement = energy saving? Smart meters are a tool that have the greatest potential benefit for power utilities. so we couldn't. And as I think of it. there will likely be other “investments” that consumers can make to cut their household expenses. and regulation shouldn't be neglected. and it was sealed. Real energy saving benefits are much more obtainable and sustainable through energy conservation measures. The reports are not as informational these days. Bernard Emby . I am with a new company called People Power (http://www. 3 of 5 2/12/2010 9:58 PM . but after a 3-4 months consumer interest drops and the in home displays end up in the kitchen drawer. because the average American has an IQ of 100 and may not figure out how to use the system for a long time. and it might be a dumb design in some cases. reliable home area networking devices into existing homes (even ones without smart meters) to enable residential energy savings. power failures are extremely common..mean time to kitchen drawer. As long as the price of electricity remains the same. I think there also isn't as much money on the table. See you in Austin! Arun Mathur .16:21 Our utility didn't care I grew up in rural Vermont. Apparently CVPS didn't hold that program in high esteem.Smart Grid: Bringing the Smart Grid to the Smart Home: It’s Not Only . smart thermostats. For the smart meters to be of any use to the consumer there must be some sort of report on time of usage readily available. We will be at the Smart Grid summit in Austin and look forward to further discussions on this topic.. That is.01/13/2010 . Steve Buchholz . (I was there. Standards have a huge role. but the utilities should also be helping their customers understand their options for automatic adjustments. Sunil Maulik . wheeze!) The FCC had legal power to say whether you could use a 3rd party phone.whether this translates into long term repeatable savings. we need to tie the financial success of utilities to what's best for society. It appears to me that there is a disproportionate amount of resource is being allocated to measurement where the resource could be better allocated to energy efficiency.. the price of electricity will eventually go up. weatherisation. Then we got into alternate long distance service. people need help. What the benefit for consumers is and whether the investment is justified remains to be seen. huh? Well. reducing standby power. Smart meters are only useful for the utility unless means are made available to the consumer to be able to adapt their usage. We got a smart meter when we had the PV system installed. if there's enough money to go around.com/artman/publish/Technologies_Meterin. People are comparing this to the personal computer revolution. as other people have mentioned.01/13/2010 . efficient lighting. answering machine. We had 2 water heaters on a 2nd electric meter with an electromechanical time switch. (Consumer behavior will even guide the building of new capacity.com) that is bringing wireless.) However. For now this will likely be a manual process. creak.01/13/2010 . in rural Vermont. What we may see is 3rd party service providers working with people for a cut of the savings. but it generally worked and didn't cause harm. The comparison I would offer is telephone deregulation. timers / scheduling of loads etc. not pro forma. electricity is cheap. energy efficiency will become more relevant as will the investments that help to curb usage. Consumers are hearing about the smart grid and the deployment of smart meters without a good understanding of what’s to come. The research suggests that there is often an initial short term spike in energy savings.01/13/2010 . Measurement does not automatically mean that savings will be obtained. Cool.peoplepowerco. particularly during peak times. but I'd offer another comparison. At first we received monthly printed reports from PG&E showing power generated and used at the different rates..14:17 Properly framing the smart grid message is key! For the most part.
Can anyone tell me what public utility will measure their success by the decrease in power distributed and consumed AND reward the consumer one for one without jacking up fees and service charges? Just as the rate of those who do sell excess energy back to the grid get the short end of the deal (wholesale versus retail rates) and just as the Government gets a set share / rate of your 'gains' but limited write off of 'losses'. Your savings will likely be off set by rising fees and service / distribution charges. then comes control. However.bottom up with real time pricing..I'd prefer an off grid microgrid solution. An out-of-dated top down strategy whereby the industry attempts to influence consumer behaviour. specializing in both real-time flight control systems and large database design. Mark Pugacz .g... Robin Eckermann .01/15/2010 ... off-peak etc. My hobby interests include radio frequency comm systems and electronics. http://www. With few exceptions this strategy never worked. BIG TIME. improve reliability.17:39 Smart for who? IF the goal of the "smart grid" is to 'reduce energy' and provide cost savings to consumers. No way to Smart Grid.Smart Grid: Bringing the Smart Grid to the Smart Home: It’s Not Only .there are virtually endless possibilities for abuse. This means getting the right price message across to the customer. on-peak .16:39 Is AMI really the starting point? The assertion in the 2nd paragraph that AMI is the first step in implementing a smart grid deserves scrutiny.and lay a solid foundation for progressing to meter upgrades in a second phase. reduce output and ensure the remaining plant runs most efficietly . no how. boost operational efficiency etc . Large commercial and industrial power users have had such metering with TOU rates for some thirty years. However.01/14/2010 . Pete Cann . starting by extending information & communications technology to higher level elements in the grid (like distribution transformers) may yield significant savings. the government. this is a poorly designed construct for the 'attested' goal. Mark Randall . Count me out . Engaging the customer in this way should lead to effective design of the Smart Framework and also engender the necessary enthusiasm!!! More discussion at http://stephenbrowning. unless the consumer has the information tools to make their own decisions . or organizations like yours say -.full load.preset time of day.smartgridnews. this data is only a subpoena away.01/14/2010 .110mb. 1-15 min). THEN consumers unilaterally would get a one for one savings to encourage it.com/artman/publish/Technologies_Meterin.and they typically represent the most expensive outlay in a full smart grid deployment. First comes monitoring.22:06 Top Down versus Bottom Up The smart meter is simply the next generation of utility metering technology that has the smarts to register closer to real time the cost of power generation and delivery. This will give an insight into which tariff structure . active in aerospace for 22 years. Smart Meters are certainly a key element on the Smart Grid landscape .07:20 Smart Grid. This type of construct for a common good such as energy shows the disingenuousness of the majority of smart grid conversation.. Otherwise. Not a chance. I'm a computer scientist. I'll gladly pay the extra cost to keep out this intrusive big-brotherish garbage. Crucially for the industry it will also show how customer reaction can be developed in a way that is 'value effective' to both customer and the business. remembering that we are not just shaping the load curve but the residual demand less the output from fixed generation (Nuclear and other inflex plant ) and after the variable output from renewables has been subtracted. As with any electronic information. Getting the customer involved means using 'whatif' scenarios with them to introduce the idea of dynamic tariffs and what they might do in reponse.07:55 You Gotta Be Kidding Under absolutely NO circumstances will I allow an AMI meter or any such garbage into my house. the rates being charged to consumers are not in real time (e. And it wont work in the residential classification either. the objective and the customer The objective of the Smart Grid should be to 'Flatten the fossil'.com/project/ 4 of 5 2/12/2010 9:58 PM .01/14/2010 .. Douglas Tideman . I'm not just some paranoid flunky. I don't care what the power companies. single time of use or predictive time of use would actually give the best result.. Vance. Mark me up as part of that 35%.01/14/2010 . but rather a concoction of averages called. the "New Govt and Industry Initiatives" are deceptions to set up resource constraints to extract more money from the consumer. BTW.
Comment: [?] Do not post commercial/sales messages here.07:41 Leave a Comment Email: [?] We will not post or give your email address to anyone.. New to this Blog? Need some help? Full Real Name: [?] Real comments need a real name. Stephen Browning . Please check for spelling now.253 5 of 5 2/12/2010 9:58 PM .156. Your IP Address is: 202. http://www.com PLEASE NOTE: All HTML codes will be removed from your comment...) You can not edit or delete your comment once it is posted.smartgridnews. The numbers (0) and (1) are not used. Try: pr@smartgridnews. CAPTCHA Security Code [?] Please type the characters you see into the box. Subject: [?] Please provide a short subject for your comment. with some pretty hard stuff re industry forecasting. They will be deleted. Remember my name? (Uncheck to forget.01/18/2010 .com/artman/publish/Technologies_Meterin.Smart Grid: Bringing the Smart Grid to the Smart Home: It’s Not Only .13..
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