Interesting article on Smart Grid and Smart Meters

The Washington Post’s rather nice “energy” page (which I am fond of) links to a great article on smart grid promises and perils. The article quotes New Jersey PSE&G CEO Ralph Izzo as saying “Somehow all of us collectively decided to skip the low-hanging fruit and go for the top of the tree.” It’s not clear from the quote’s context if Izzo is referencing “smart grid” broadly (meaning any and all things related to “awareness” in the electricity transmission and distribution networks, or smart meters (meaning the “awareness” of end use customers via advanced electricity meters). The article seems to suggest that smart meters are the real focus. But it’s not so surprising that Steven Mufson, the article’s author, points out the problems with opposition to rolling out smart meters in California. I’m a big fan of smart meters, and it pains me to see people who would rather be ignorant of the true costs of their electricity consumption (in both dollars and environmental impact). No, smart meters are not perfect, and neither are the utilities, third party service providers and regulators that utilize them, but as energy consumers I’d hope that we would embrace their potential as tools to help us use electricity more efficiency. Until then maybe Izzo is correct: in the short run energy efficiency spending may prove more effective than smart meters in reducing energy consumption. The answer to that question is one we’re seeking at DECA and when we find it, we’ll be certain to pass it along.
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