Are Smart Meter Roll Outs in Danger?

Last month, a couple sued Oncor claiming that their new smart meter is over charging them.  This led Oncor to hold a town hall style meeting over the smart meter rollout and many customers were anxious, wanting their rollout put on hold.  This lawsuit follows one from Bakersfield, CA claiming the same thing; that smart meters were overcharging them.  The Bakersfield utility, PG&E, hired an independent consultant to review if the smart meters are overcharging.  Both of these incidents point to a bumpy road ahead for smart meters rollout than first expected.

Utilities are starting to realize that giving consumers data about their usage is not the same as consumers understanding how the use the data.  To get ahead of this, some companies are forming a new smart meter consumer collaborative, which will “research consumers’ concerns and develop a message to engage the consumer to understand the benefits of the smart grid.” They hope that this group can get more consumers to understand the value of the smart meter and how it can affect their relationship with electricity.  Moreover, important smart meter company, IBM, argues that more careful planning is needed when rolling out the new meters.  In the end, for smart meters to be successful, consumers need to buy in on their value.  The initiatives mentioned here hope to help address this issue.

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One response to “Are Smart Meter Roll Outs in Danger?

  1. mmitchellnc

    There are many varied reasons for the utilities to upgrade the grid infrastructure and it will happen. But what is even more powerful is we know that consumers are becoming more interested and engaged in their electricity consumption. It’s a big budget line item and for a long time we have just accepted and paid it each and every month. We really see consumers getting much more interested in becoming more active in managing electricity consumption and taking steps to drive it down. $’s and cents are the primary motivator but there is also a great deal of satisfaction taken for doing the right thing and making a difference.

    What we know definitively is access to better information – real time information can make a huge difference in reducing electricity consumption. There are many academic, utility sponsored and manufacturer sponsored research studies and the general conclusion is just better information alone can reduce consumption by 5-15%. For a family spending $100 – $250 per month on electricity that’s a big deal. The aggregated potential impact from millions of homes reducing their consumption by 5-15% is huge for the economy and the environment.

    The utilities will bring solutions to the market……but there are proven energy monitoring options on the market today. For as little as $100 families can gain access to this real time information today and begin to take control of this important issue and important monthly budget item.

    We have been in the business of real time electricity information since 2003 and it’s gratifying to see this momentum. For more information go to http://www.bluelineinnovations.com.

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