With surging electrical rates and increase demand the smart grid has been gaining traction as a way to allow consumer to control their usage and smooth out peak demand. In the future policies will require the reduction of CO2 emissions from power plants and one way to achieve this is by lowering the demand put on them. The smart gird is considered by many as a partial solution to this, but not everyone is happy about it.
The cost to install smart meters in households and ensure that the infrastructure is in place to operate them is enormous and most utilities pass that cost onto the consumer. Because of this some consumers have actually seen their bills increase rather than decrease. The Wall Street Journal recently put out an article entitled “Smart Meter, Dumb Idea?” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124050416142448555.html which outlines some of these costs to the consumer. In addition to the infrastructure utilities are spending millions of dollars to educate the consumer on how to use the device, and of course, these costs are also passed through.
These additional costs are causing a backlash amongst consumers. In California and Texas utilities are putting together focus groups to address the negativity seen in the marketplace. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2010/03/10/the-backlash-against-smartmeters/ Some Texas consumers have gotten so upset that they’ve formed a group called Smart UR Citizens http://www.smarturcitizens.com/ in order to get their voices heard and fight these charges being passed onto them.