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Old 10-20-2009, 10:47 AM
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Default New "Smart Grid" for 6 Memphis Zip Codes



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if they get past the unions - this is what they want to do:

Link:
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...-utility-info/

Excerpt:
Quote:
Residents of six city ZIP codes may soon experience Memphis Light, Gas and Water's "smart grid" project, which could lead to profound changes in how people in the Mid-South buy energy.

Some customers would have digital displays in their homes that would tell them exactly how much energy they're using each day, rather than waiting for a monthly bill. Other customers could get the same information from the Internet.

The utility's board voted last week to include $13.8 million in its 2010 budget for the first phase of the project, which will pay for new meters, software and better intelligence of power outages. Utility leaders hope to recover $6.9 million through a federal grant.

This week, the utility expects to receive proposals from interested contractors.

The contractors would install meters and other equipment for the 70,000 business and residential customers in the six ZIP codes affected: 38104, 38106, 38108, 38111, 38114 and 38122.

MLGW expects to begin implementation in the first half of 2010.

The smart-grid project might prompt customers to think twice about decisions like leaving a big-screen TV plugged in, since it uses power even when it's off, said Laura Campbell, an MLGW engineer in charge of the project.

And meter readers would no longer contend with vicious dogs and locked gates, since bills could be calculated remotely, she said. Utility workers could look at a screen to identify houses affected by power outages, then make changes to isolate the outages, she said.

But smart grid faces opposition from a labor union concerned about costs and job losses.

The project also faces serious technical challenges: The concept is so new that there's no standard way for different companies' systems to work with one another.

MLGW is one of many utilities around the country pursuing the smart grid, which the Obama administration has embraced as a way to save energy. Campbell said the utility selected ZIP codes where customers use the most energy per square foot, and have an existing wireless communications infrastructure.

MLGW hopes to expand the system once equipment prices drop, Campbell said. The utility hasn't calculated a total price tag yet.

One key concept in the smart grid system is "time-of-use metering." That means power might cost different amounts at different times, to discourage use at peak hours.

To meet peak demand, power companies operate some plants that run as little as 300 hours per year. Avoiding the construction of new plants could save costs and cut pollution, Campbell said.

In the future, customers might be able to store up energy in batteries at low-cost night rates and sell it back to the company at high-cost day rates, said Sam Spencer, the editor of a Maryland-based newsletter called Smart Grid Today.

That would be impossible on today's electrical grids, which are more or less the same as they've been for decades.

"The electric industry has come only a tiny step into the computer age," he said.

Spencer says the smart-grid concept brings a lot of benefits, but a downside is that the cost of the infrastructure can be passed to the consumer. That's already led to complaints in places like Bakersfield, Calif.

There are other problems. Companies are developing products that use different electronic languages to talk with one another. It's a bit like the videocassette format war between Beta and VHS, Spencer said.

Bill Hawkins of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, a labor union representing some MLGW workers, says he's been attending national conferences to learn about the smart grid, and that he's not impressed.

"It doesn't work," he said. "It's a concept on a piece of paper."

He also says it would lead to layoffs and could lead to higher costs for consumers, since the new meters allow the utility to charge different rates at different times.

The utility says it would find new jobs for the displaced workers. It also said customers could likely choose whether or not to participate in the time-of-use metering.
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:47 PM
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The more complicated you make something, the greater the chance for failure.
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:54 PM
Dirt Fisher Dirt Fisher is offline
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It's a good thing you did an excerpt, your link is borked.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:54 PM
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link works when I click on it in the post -
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:05 PM
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link works when I click on it in the post -
Huh,
yeah, it works now.
Good post.

More government control... yay...
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:13 PM
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All the more reason I am looking at off grid.
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:37 PM
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From the article...

"One key concept in the smart grid system is "time-of-use metering." That means power might cost different amounts at different times, to discourage use at peak hours."


Who knew the power company was going to act as a parent? I guess I can let mine know they can take a vacation or something.

How long until the power company calls you, not because you're late on your payment, but because you're keeping you AC set too low?..... "I'm sorry Mr. Smith but the Energy Secretary has determined that you don't need your heat set that high, we suggest you use some blankets instead. Don't worry we'll remotely lower the temperature of your thermostat and lock it in for you so you don't make this mistake again."
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by linksys1169 View Post
How long until the power company calls you, not because you're late on your payment, but because you're keeping you AC set too low?..... Don't worry we'll remotely lower the temperature of your thermostat and lock it in for you so you don't make this mistake again."
They already have a system that does that here.
Not sure how it works but it's voluntary up in LA county somewhere.
Soon it will be mandatory. Not for this kid.
They do however already limit home much frigging water we can use.
If you go a certain percent over your average they double the bill.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:03 AM
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We have had the smart meters for over 5 years now. No problems, and much more accurate billing. "Time of use" billing has been used in industries for many years.
For instance, an industry such as a foundry that is a large consumer can lower their bills by participating in programs like TVA's phased reductions. In other words, when demand peaks abnormally high, users that have signed on will be asked to curtail useage or shut down. Typically, this only happens once a year or so, and the savings are immense. I would love the chance to lower my energy bills by having more control. I don't like the idea that they can control my useage though.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruhamey View Post
We have had the smart meters for over 5 years now. No problems, and much more accurate billing. "Time of use" billing has been used in industries for many years.
For instance, an industry such as a foundry that is a large consumer can lower their bills by participating in programs like TVA's phased reductions. In other words, when demand peaks abnormally high, users that have signed on will be asked to curtail useage or shut down. Typically, this only happens once a year or so, and the savings are immense. I would love the chance to lower my energy bills by having more control. I don't like the idea that they can control my useage though.
I agree that it would be nice to have more control for yourself. Anytime you can save a few bucks thats always good. I just can't stand the idea that someone else would TELL me to do it. Or punish me for not "doing as I'm told".

I realize the article didn't say that there would be controls, but when was the last time the .gov passed up an opportunity for control?
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:10 PM
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I realize the article didn't say that there would be controls, but when was the last time the .gov passed up an opportunity for control?
And that's my bottom line objection. I think the technology aspect is great. I'd love to walk out and have my meter tell me how much my current usage is costing and adjust myself accordingly.
The remote do things our way our we'll shut you off aspect is a deal killer right off the bat.
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:24 PM
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I think the smart grid is a great idea. This should also allow for greater competition. Certainly it means greater efficiency and lower costs for power users over time. I vote yes. I can't wait until it comes to Atlanta.
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:43 PM
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About 4 months ago the electric company here in North Texas installed a "smart meter" on my home and the technician was talking about being able to have a console readout in the house and to better manage my power usage.

The problem is that I am not smart enough to figure out how to more effectively use the "smart meter" and I am sure that I will have to buy additional equipment if I did ever decide to utilize all of its features.

He said that the real benefit of this meter for the power company is that they can electronically gather usage information without having a human read the meter.
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