miércoles, octubre 13, 2010

Easing Smart Meters Path with a New Legislative Mandate

Ken Silverstein has written, on October 12, 2010, the timely article Maryland's Turning Point on Smart Meters: Ratepayers Won't be Patsies, which I responded with this comment:

Hi Ken,

Back in June 2010, I posted the comment Every State Government Should Follow Maryland PSC's Leadership, that said:

Maryland PSC's great leadership decision on BG&E's Smart Metering Project has answered the question posed in the EWPC article Is the Smart Grid that is Being Pushed a Costly Mistake? That decision fulfills Peter Koestenbaum’s leadership strategies on how to achieve greatness: it has extraordinary value on ethics, vision, reality, and courage.

The summary of said article suggests the leadership step waiting to happen: “The main argument is that, by inaction, each State Government should be responsible to their constituencies for a very costly mistake that is being made by letting the smart grid process continue without giving State Regulators the proper mandate.”

On top of that, State Governments need to look very closely at the discussions posted in The Dynamic Pricing Debate Shows that Utilities Won't be Able [to] Engage Customers.

Now I see that you wrote that "The Galvin Institute adds that the technologies are already working and if regulators would ease the path, more providers would participate and those tools would get even better. It also says that for every $1 invested in smart meters, $4 to $5 is returned in the form energy savings, greater productivity and more jobs." Are all regulators able to "ease the path" without the new legislative mandate to open the retail markets for providers competition that I am asking for?

Also supporting the case for a new mandate, the Galvin Electricity Initiative, in their recently launched booklet “An Electric Revolution: Reforming Monopolies, Reinventing the Gridand Giving Power to the People,” says that:

"Recognizing the profound benefits to the economy and environment, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Investment Grant program awarded $4.3 billion to 100 projects during 2009, most of which regrettably emphasize only semi-intelligent electric meters. Alas, fewer than 20 of the projects are
designed to give consumers the real tools and information needed to make informed choices. More than 90 percent of the money is simply going to shovel-ready projects, using meters with limited features that retain a utility’s control of electricity use and price data. The unfortunate result is that these less-sophisticated devices — which in some cases are leading to mysterious overcharges — are not only giving smart meters a bad reputation among consumers, but also raising suspicions about utility motives and predatory practices."

Best regards,

José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio, Ph.D. - LinkedIn

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