Unfortunately, this is a rare exception and most people have no idea how much their power costs. Many electricity markets are now deregulated, which is nice in theory. But in order for true competition to flourish, willing buyers and sellers must both have reasonable knowledge and agree on the ‘market price’. Clearly, in the case of our electric grid, the distinct advantage lies with those who make and distribute power. With such an advantage, don’t hold your breath for free hourly meters from your local utility, especially owners of traditionally filthy and profitable peaking units.
As the City of Chelsea begins to evaluate a proposed new diesel plant which is being built solely to deal with peak load, I expect that we’ll hear much about the need for ever more power generation. In my opinion, it would make more sense to ask ourselves WHY we need more power and address it from there.
It’s catching on in Illinois. Check this out:
But as awareness of ”smart meters” grows, so does demand for them, not only from consumers and environmental groups but also from government bodies responding to public anger over rising power prices. In Illinois, for example, the legislature passed a law in December requiring the program Ms. Kinch joined four years ago to be expanded from 1,100 customers to 110,000.
The law also required that Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago utility, hire a third party to run the program. It chose Comverge Inc., the largest provider of peak-load energy management systems in North America.
I can’t resist pointing out here that the utilities have ironically kept consumers in the dark in order to keep them in the light. That needs to change and it needs to happen fast. RGGI is a great step in encouraging clean energy generation but there’s nothing cleaner than not producing it in the first place. Perhaps that tantalizing feature in today’s RGGI announcement of 100% of the allowance money put towards demand reduction can find its way here. Am I missing any downside? Sign this consumer up for a smart meter!
The question is: Where does the line form?