Smart Grid - Utilities and Consumers Dreams...

Joao Gomes | Apr 01, 2010

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What is the dream of Utilities with the development and deployment of Smart Grid, if the utilities could direct the policies of the planning area of Smart Grid, we'll see that the area associated HAN and the Consumers would be placed in the background?

In the foreground were to implement policies for AMR / AMI and DSM, as these management tools is that they provided the means to better understand and score are localized where their Technical and Commercial losses, ie, where profits are slipping.

The Utilities are beginning to realize that building large power plants just to handle peak daily and seasonal demand is a very costly way of managing an electricity system. Existing electricity grids are typically a patchwork of local grids that are simultaneously inefficient, wasteful, and dysfunctional in that they often are unable, for example, to move electricity surpluses to areas of shortages.

The inability to move low-cost electricity to consumers because of congestion on transmission lines brings with it costs similar to those associated with traffic congestion.

Most important, the new grid would link regions rich in wind, solar, and geothermal energy with consumption centers. A drawing on a full range of renewable energy source, would itself be a stabilizing factor.

Establishing strong grids that can move electricity as needed and that link new energy sources with consumers is only half the battle, however. The grids and appliances need to become Smarter as well. In the simplest terms, a Smart Grid is one that takes advantage of advances in information technology, integrating this technology into the electrical generating, delivery, and user system, enabling utilities to communicate directly with customers and, if the latter agree, with their household appliances.

A Smart Grid not only moves electricity more efficiently in geographic terms; it also enables electricity use to be shifted over time -- for example, from periods of peak demand to those of off-peak demand. Achieving this goal means working with consumers who have Smart Meters to see exactly how much electricity is being used at any particular time. This facilitates two-way communication between utility and consumer so they can cooperate in reducing peak demand in a way that is advantageous to both. And it allows the use of two-way metering so that customers who have a rooftop solar electric panel or their own windmill can sell surplus electricity back to the utility.

Taking advantage of information technology to increase the efficiency of the grid, the delivery system, and the use of electricity at the same time is itself a smart move. Simply put, a Smart Grid combined with Smart Meters enables both electrical utilities and consumers to be much more efficient.

What is the DREAM of Consumers with the development and deployment of Smart Grid, consumers dream for a more civilized relationship and more equal with the supplier of their main source of comfort, pleasure and that is the basic raw material for its new forms of communication with the world and their peers.

Last but not least, the consumer can not change your energy supplier, at least in the near future.

Some benefits most desired by consumers include:

  • Estimated accounts will be eliminated and customers will pay only for what they actually use.

  • Flexible tariffs, utility companies will be able to manage different prices to sustain new policies on energy consumption.
  • Pre-payment, the solution allows customers to switch to a pre-pay service, similar to mobile phone pre-payment.
  • Reduction of losses, commercial losses will be reduced and technical losses will be more easily identified through monitoring of electricity grids.
  • Remote management of electricity supply: no local intervention to activate, reduce, increase or terminate supply, thereby reducing connection time.
  • Energy efficiency, the system will enable sophisticated analysis of consumption patterns enabling a real-time view of energy use to identify opportunities for reduction.
  • Customer portal, customers will have an Internet window to their technical and commercial data, to track current consumption and choose the most appropriate agreements
  • Giving homeowners the tools to interact with utilities and reduce energy use is a critical part of the emerging Smart Grid,
  • Smart controls, allow homeowners to automate their energy consumption based on price to better manage their utility costs.
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    Comments

    Yes, exactly.

    Is there a source for the list of consumer wants? It sounds more like suppliers' perceptions of what an ideal customer would want.
    The key to wants may be bullet 5; highlighting the ability to remotely disconnect individual customers.
    It might be helpful to review the initial experience with smart meters in California.
    http://www.dra.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/2A0C5457-56FC-4821-8C4D-457F4CF204D1/0/20091119_DRAdisconnectionstatusreport.pdf
    Thank you.

    I agree with Len's comment "Yes, exactly", and I would add to the list of consumer wants at the end of the article the following;

    Most consumers would want all of the above but don't want substantially higher utility bills to pay for it all. Those consumers that recognize they will have to pay higher utility bills to pay for all these things would likely give higher priority to acquire the last two in the list - (hi-tech) tools and smart controls that help consumers better manage, read minimize, their inevitably increasing energy bills over time.

    I agree as well, but with one tiny caveat. The grid itself isn't smart and doesn't have to be, so long as it allows buyers and sellers to interact in a variety of ways. Smart Grid is a clever, attention-getting buzzword, but like the Internet, a grid is little more than wires, and wires lack intelligence. Smarts have to be located at the nodes.