"Lovely Rita" With Brains!

Mon, 2007-01-08 11:47Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

"Lovely Rita" With Brains!

Imagine an electricity meter that can pinpoint power outages, automatically turn household appliances off when wholesale electricity gets too expensive and - with enough of them in use - possibly reduce the need for new power plants. All rank among the potential benefits of so-called smart meters, which are fast becoming the darling of the utility industry as state and federal regulators push power providers to cut energy costs.

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The issue over Smart Meters was also covered in the Dec 13, 2006 issue of the Economist (subscription req’d).

Regulators tend to push for smart meters only under special circumstances. The government of the Canadian province of Ontario, for example, has decided to phase out coal-fired power generation, and wants smart meters to help cut demand to compensate for the reduction in the power supply.

I believe the original plan was to convert all households by 2010.

I thought the timing was a bit ironic. By the time I read the article, the Boxing Week sales were on in Canada. A big push was on for big screen tvs, which can be energy hogs, (see this article)which may negate the savings from load shifting to non-peak hours, one of the benefits of Time Of Use (TOU) electricity rates that smart meters facilitate.