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Smart Grid/Smart Metering – PART III – Delivering and Measuring Energy Use

3 March, 2009

PART III:  10 February, 2009    –         Google Taking a Step Into Power Metering

This article takes a slightly different angle than the previous one even though it is announcing that Google is getting into the Power Metering business.  Here, the focus is on ways to reduce and stabilize energy use, rather than on building power plants.   Customers, as we learned in the previous article, will be able to track their energy use. But,

Google is counting on others to build devices to feed data into PowerMeter technology. While it hopes to begin introducing the service in the next few months, it has not yet lined up hardware manufacturers.

What kinds of devices is Google talking about?  Home appliances and electric cars, anything that needs to be charged or use electricity.  If the makers put smart chips in these devices, the devices can tell the grid and the meters how much each one is using.  That might help us cut down our consumption, saving money and energy.   Sounds environmentally sound, doesn’t it? The downside to this is that it might also give control of our appliances to someone else.

If the utility could “talk” to the dishwasher, it might tell the machine to run at 2 a.m. and not 2 p.m., or it might tell the homeowner how much money would be saved by running the dishwasher at a different hour.


A smart grid would recognize the car wherever it was plugged in, the way a cellphone network recognizes a mobile phone when it is turned on.

The grid could bill the owner of the car for recharging the battery no matter where the car was plugged in. It would charge the owner a rate based on the time of day or night. If the car were left plugged in, the grid could decide when to charge it at the lowest rate.The grid could bill the owner of the car for recharging the battery no matter where the car was plugged in. It would charge the owner a rate based on the time of day or night. If the car were left plugged in, the grid could decide when to charge it at the lowest rate.

Are you worried yet?  They can put a chip in your dishwasher so someone else can decide when to run it or in  your clothes dryer or washing machine to monitor them.  Soon there will be a chip in your driver’s license so someone will know where you are, and maybe a chip in your car so someone can tell how many miles you drove and where you are; they could even put a chip in you like they do in pets.  Don’t tell me that can’t happen, because it is already happening to our soldiers.  I know because my future son-in-law has one; he didn’t have the right to say no.  Neither will we.

I know that there is a smart chip in my computer and in my credit and debit cards. I’ve heard that the U.S. is moving toward smart chips in our passports and I knew about the REAL ID and driver’s licenses with chips in them.

I also knew that providing energy had become a serious problem in the U.S.  It’s hard to miss those news stories about massive blackouts caused by an antiquated grid.  My house has been subjected to rolling blackouts during the hottest days of summer when everyone wants to run their air conditioner.  I try to stay informed about what is happening here and abroad.

So, how did I miss out on this?   Were we  having a national discussion about this?  Information has been available on the web for those with interest in the subject; I know because I found it.  But I haven’t seen anything in the general news until just before the Stimulus package.  Why?  There are conferences all around the world this year about using smart grids and smart meters.  How did the citizens of the U.S. get excluded from this discussion?  Why?

Obviously, someone in Washington (or someone behind someone in Washington) knew how they wanted this to go.  Who?


Link to discussion of Google’s effect on the grid/meter industry: How Google’s PowerMeter Will Affect the Smart Meter Industry

Links to grid/metering in other countries:

Smart Metering is already being “rolled out” in the EU:    Smart Metering for Domestic Customers

and in Canada Smart Meters: A New Way To Think About Electricity

Links to a few conferences about grid/metering:

in Oslo, Norway 4-5 March, 2009     “Sharing experiences on how to overcome challenges after large scale meter roll out;”

in Warsaw, Poland 7-8 April, 2009      “Building a strategic and practical metering roadmap for Central and Eastern Europe;”

and in    Sydney, Australia on 11 June, 2009;  in    London 9-10 June, 1009.

and finally just to round out the partial list, in    Dubai, UAE 4-6 May, 2009.

Looks like the whole world is ahead of us when it comes to being “smart.”

to be continued

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