Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mainstreaming the Smart Grid

Loved seeing a USA Today front page article this morning on early consumer experiences with the Smart Grid. To me, press like this is an important indicator of the education and mainstreaming process. The piece describes some money saving success stories and some setbacks too (as Jack did earlier here), but overall serves to demystify the Smart Grid.

The article drew over a hundred comments as of tonight, indicating big interest but also continuing big ignorance and paranoia about why the Smart Grid is being built, e.g.:

  • "I would rather spend money on solar panels on my roof"
  • "Surely you realize that if everyone en masse were to save 15%, the power company will need a rate hike to cover that?"
  • "Smart Meters - so smart the utilities can program them remotely to, show increased consumption?"
And there's always this not completely irrational response to consider and address: "Anything that takes control away from the consumer is a threat." 

Sitting back on our skis isn't going to get us where we need to go. As we've said previously (and others have chimed in similarly), before it gets on board, the public's got to get a big dose of openness and confidence from the industry and government. Now would be a great time for all parties to turn up the volume on where we are, where we're going ... and maybe most importantly, why we're on this trip to begin with.

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