What will President Obama’s “smart grid” bring our way? Consider this excerpt from today’s ClimateWire:
Michael Godorov, PPL’s manager of smart meter operations, said that a real-time pricing strategy requires a big differential between peak and off-peak prices to be effective. “It has to be painful enough for a customer to want to save money,” he said. “If you leave it to the consumer, you definitely have to put in enough incentives. The market has to make it imperative for customers to manage their use.”
“How do we get people to care enough about this?” asked David Mohler, chief technology officer of Duke Energy, at a conference in Washington last month.
If millions of motorists with plug-in hybrids were to arrive home at 5 p.m. on the hottest day of the year and want to do a quick recharge on a 220-volt appliance circuit, the electricity grid would have severe problems handling the load, Mohler said.
“We should have an ability to differentially price that,” he said. The fast-charge price could be equivalent to $20 for a gallon of gasoline, he suggested. Motorists content to charge overnight, when power prices are lowest, might have to pay the equivalent of 75 cents a gallon — a bargain price. “Until we can give them a way to painlessly respond to that price signal, I don’t know how we get to where we need to go,” he said.
Companies like Dallas-based Oncor that have committed to smart grid and dynamic pricing strategies believe most consumers will come along. Oncor has outfitted a truck trailer with a mini-classroom to show customers how its smart grid would work, and more than 22,000 people have taken a look since last year.
“We’ve had some people say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t want this meter.’ They don’t understand it,” said Oncor CEO Bob Shapard. “They don’t like people coming in their backyard to change it. ‘What’s the matter with the meter I’ve already got?'” they say. “You get some of that pushback. The lion’s share of our customers, though, takes the other approach. Virtually all the customers that have been coming through the education center are asking, ‘When can I get my meter?'”
Here’s what you need to know about the smart grid and smart meters:
Smart = Consumer (gouging plus pain)
“Smart” is the new “stupid.”