Tuesday, December 15, 2009
‘Smart’ Electric Utility Meters, Intended to Create Savings, Instead Prompt Revolt
WASHINGTON — Millions of households across America are taking a first step into the world of the “smart grid,” as their power companies install meters that can tell them how much electricity they are using hour by hour — and sometimes, appliance by appliance. But not everyone is happy about it.
Leo Margosian of Fresno, Calif.,
said his meter put July use at three
times as much as last July's
Customers in California are in open revolt, and officials in Connecticut and Texas are questioning whether the rush to install meters benefits the public.
Some consumers argue that the meters are logging far more kilowatt hours than they believe they are using. And many find it unfair that they will begin to pay immediately for the new meters through higher rates, when the promised savings could be years away.
Power companies say the meters will allow utilities to vary the price charged to their customers by the hour to correspond to what those utilities are paying for energy in the wholesale market. This can help consumers save money, they say. Read more.