Smart Grid On “Track” VT

Excerpt from : Smart meters will allow Vermonters to track electrical use

By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN                            July 21, 2011

BRATTLEBORO — Some Windham County home and business owners could see the first smart meters by the end of the year, after the state announced a new agreement with Vermont’s largest utilities Wednesday…

The new meters transmit information from the homes and businesses to the electric companies over a wireless broadband connection, and will eventually allow users to see how much electricity they are consuming, and when that power could possibly be purchased at a reduced rate.

“The real promise of smart grid for Vermonters is to reduce peak demand on our electrical distribution system by giving consumers the information they need to change electric use patterns, integrating clean renewable power generation, and eventually supporting the adoption of electric vehicles,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said after announcing the new deal….

GMP Spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said the company would contact homeowners and businesses before installing the new meters.

The installation of the new meters is the first step in connecting all GMP and CVPS customers to the advanced technology…

full article – http://www.reformer.com/ci_18518718?source=most_viewed

VT For Evolution Responds –

This article doesn’t mention the “opt-out” policy, public service commissioner Elizabeth Miller said the state would implement, it just says they will contact you before they install it…??? If it is like California you will PAY to opt-out…

What is clear in this and the rest of the VT Smart Meter articles, is that the only way Smart Grid will save energy is by offering consumers information to change their behavior… Do we really need a Smart grid to tell us when people use the most energy… The peak time of energy consumption for residential during the week is morning and evening, weekends and holidays in the middle of the day… No?

The way they are selling this technology is simply by offering reduced rates on non-peak usage hours. Which they could do with out Smart Meters. So, now you will be doing your laundry at 2:00 am to save 50¢… I doubt it. We are a people of habit, and tight schedules. To say this is a “sustainable” solution to reduce our use of out-of-state dirty coal electricity is a far reach. As far as using renewable energy technology and electric cars, Smart Meters have nothing to offer other than a data interface.

The article also says, “Schnure stressed that the smart meters do not give the companies any additional information on what appliances are using the power.”

Watch – The Dark Side of ‘Smart’ Meters 

It isn’t that smart grid tells you outright what appliances are used, but each appliance leaves a signature usage in the data that can be identified. I have heard that many new appliances already have Radio Frequency technology built into them and will communicate with the smart meters, I guess they are called smart appliances. Whether or not it is something you could buy and not know it, isn’t clear to me.

I could care less about the utility company seeing what appliance I am using, but if they sell that information to big corporations to turn a buck I do. More important to me is that RF tech has been rescheduled as possibly cancer causing.

Let just hope Vermont at the very least comes out with a FREE opt-out for those who wish to keep their analogue meters.

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4 thoughts on “Smart Grid On “Track” VT

  1. Commissioner Miller’s remarks imply that an opt-out will cost the cautious or electrosensitive rate payer more money. With the potential for 70% of Vermont to be served by one power company, the Department of Public Service and GMP have an enormous say in the matter. The problem with a pay-for opt-out plan is that it penalizes those who are not on board with wireless meters TWICE. First, every electric customer will be paying more per kWh to pay for the new meters, even though they are property of the utilities. Then, folks who want to keep their analog meter will be expected to pay an additional charge every month, to patch holes in the wireless mesh network and to have the luxury of having their meter read manually. A low-income or energy efficient household might see a 10-20% increase in their monthly bill due to an opt-out fee.

    I can understand how a tax or surcharge might make sense for things like high-wattage light bulbs, gas-guzzling vehicles, soda, or cigarettes. Discouraging wasteful or unhealthy products is a good idea. Telling people they’ll have to pay to keep something that has served them perfectly well for years, while the “free” replacement is so controversial is bizarre, to say the least.

    Health and privacy aside, the new meters are generating higher bills in many parts of the country, especially people who have more appliances or lights which require “in rush” current to turn on. The truth is, digital meters might be more accurate than their analog siblings, because they are more sensitive to the burst of amps at startup. They also use a little extra power to transmit the wireless signals.

    The penalties have not been received well in Maine or California. I don’t imagine it will be any different in Vermont. I know that between everyone at the PSB and all of Vermont’s utilities, a creative, incentive-based approach could be determined.

    • Thanks for clarifying! Yes, paying to Opt-out is not much of an option. I guess SM don’t see opposition until people see their rates increase, when it is “too late” and the investment has already been made.

  2. “The wireless meter technology that many of our utilities plan to use does provide greater functionality than the meters that would be what is known as power line carrier. So, there is a benefit to choosing that technology. There is also, of course, the question of other radio frequency devices that are commonly used in households that people routinely use all the time, directly within their radius, such as cell phones. But regardless, for those who feel that the radio frequency emissions is an issue that they’re concerned about, we do want to look in Vermont at a way to provide consumers with choice, we want to think about how it’s happened elsewhere that consumers have been resistant to radio frequency meters being installed on homes. So we’re looking right now at the Department of Public Service in speaking with our utlities about what an opt-out could look like here. One that would be appropriately narrow to deliver the benefits of the Smart Grid to the most consumers possible, but also allow for those that are concerned to have that choice, and to make sure the costs are born appropritately too, because it will be a cost to the system if consumers choose not to use this new infrastructure.” Elizabeth Miller – Comissioner of Vermont Department of Public Service on Vermont Edition 5/18/2011 (http://www.vpr.net/episode/51172/)

    • I am not sure of your intention to post this quote without any comment on it of your own. It is clear in her speech that it is not clear in her head.

      “we want to think about how it’s happened elsewhere that consumers have been resistant to radio frequency meters being installed on homes.”
      “So we’re looking right now… about what an opt-out could look like here. One that would be appropriately narrow to deliver the benefits of the Smart Grid to the most consumers possible”

      So she does NOT validate people’s concerns she wants to quell them to get “Smart Grid to the most consumers possible” This is not a democratic process.

      Questions: If the Smart Grid reveals peak usage hours by its 15 minute incremental data collection, and then provides this information to the consumer so they can adjust their usage and save money, won’t the peak usage hour always be in conflict, assuming people want to change their usage and save money? If 51% of the peak usage consumers shift to the off-peak usage hour, the off-peak usage hour has just become the new peak usage hour. Is there evidence anywhere that they have gotten this Data Based Money saver to work at all? How much money, have what percentage of the consumers saved in these “smart” neighborhoods. We know they aren’t saving electricity, but it is supposed to save consumers money. With the cost to implement this smart grid how long will it take with these supposed savings to pay off?

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