Smart Meters in communities?
From: ehrbar (
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 08:34:27 -0700 (PDT)
Smart meters are part of the smart grid, which is the
electric grid of the future.  Renewable energy is
distributed, while fossil electricity is centralized.  The
grid therefore, instead of distributing electricity in a
one-way shower-like distribution from big centralized
producers of power to many consumers of power, the grid must
become able to shift electricity back and forth between many
so-called prosumers, who produce electricity with wind and
solar power and consume it for their home use.

Another feature of the electricity supply of the future is
the need for more coordination between production and
consumption of electricity.  For instance the defrost cycle
of the refrigerator, which uses a lot of power, should be
scheduled at times when there is an excess power in the
grid.  Many other examples like that, some of it is already
being done today with the scheduling of irrigation pumps for

For all this, the electric grid must be integrated with
modern information technology, you need smart meters and
smart applicances.  The smart grid is an electric grid which
at the same time acts as an internet for all the devices
that produce, consume, or store electricity.

Many electric utilities resist the introduction of the smart
grid, because they want to remain the sole suppliers of
electricity and they do not want to use this part of the
business to distributed small suppliers.  They are trying to
scare consumers by saying: if you have a smart refrigerator,
the electric utility can see how much food you have in your
refrigerator, and they will take your children away from you
if they think there is not enough food in the refrigerator.
This all is just scare stories, smart applicances are not
wired to check for food in the refrigerator but to optimize
the timing of electricity consumption, and all this can be
overridden by the consumer for a price.  These scare stories
are similar to global warming denialism, invented by the
fossil industries to retard the introduction of the policies
and reforms necessary to keep this a livable planet.

Hans G Ehrbar
Wasatch Commons, SLC UT

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