Utilities are killing the smart grid before it’s even born by hampering its ability to deliver real time information to customers, writes Katie Fehrenbacher at Earth2Tech.
Without real time information, customers can’t adjust their behaviour accordingly to cut back on energy use and save money on bills. Also, without real time information, Fehrenbacher speculates that innovation around the smart grid will be stifled.
As of right now, utilities plan on gathering energy data that covers 15 minute to 1 hour intervals, then gathering that information and sending it to consumers on a daily basis. Fat lot of good that will do. If you find out tomorrow that electricity use peaked at 1 pm today, then how exactly do you adjust your behaviour?
Also, developing killer applications won’t happen in a lagging environment. Fehrenbacher compares it to cell phones:
For cell phone companies and utilities alike, it’s more expensive to provide data more frequently. But for cell phones and GPS, the debate ended when the killer location-based app — turn-by-turn driving directions – finally emerged. Turn-by-turn driving directions only work when the data is available in real time — no one will use a service that tells you to turn a couple minutes after you pass the right street.
Utilities claim its too pricey right now, too new, to provide real time information. The problem is that we’re standing at the start line for the grid. If it’s not properly built and tested now, there’s a chance the dream of the smart grid will fall flat.
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