Archive for February, 2011

Are new privacy regulations are needed for smart meter data?

Lately, there has been much discussion of protecting the privacy of data collected via smart meters. For example, the upcoming California Public Utility Commission smart grid proceeding is expected to include a draft ruling on this issue.

This discussion is part of a broader societal discussion of privacy, driven largely by the rise of social networking services — such as Facebook, which has sparked high-profile privacy concerns…

Full story: Smart meter data: Why new privacy regulations are not needed

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February 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Spain: Public-private collaboration on smart grid R&D

In a pioneering move, the Spanish utility Iberdrola is promoting smart grid R&D through local private-public collaboration. This signals that regional authorities have a strong interest in moving Spain’s smart grid forward. Such collaboration among key stakeholders was an important reason for the success of Pepco’s PowerCentsDC smart meter pilot in Washington, DC.

Full story: Spain: Smart grid R&D through new public-private collaboration

February 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Opting out of smart meters: What does it cost?

This week at the National Electricity Forum in Washington DC, a state public utility commissioner asked me how much it would cost for a customer to “opt out” from receiving a smart meter.

Opting out means not receiving a standard smart meter — those customers would keep their old electromechanical meters, which must be read manually and do not record when energy is used. Also, old meters do not support smart appliances, improved home energy management through information feedback, or time-managed and discounted electric vehicle charging. Furthermore, when individual “dumb” meters are interspersed among large numbers of remotely read smart meters, it becomes costly to read and maintain the old meters.

Recently, Central Maine Power filed an extensive analysis of the opt-out topic. Here’s what they found…

Full story: What does it cost to opt out of a smart meter?

February 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm

New Orleans: Entergy smart meter pilot program for low-income customers

Smart meter benefits aren’t just for middle- and upper-income consumers. In New Orleans, Entergy is now implementing itsSmartView pilot program to deliver smart meter benefits to low-income customers.

Similar projects (such as the PowerCentsDC program in Washington DC run by eMeter Strategic Consulting, and the California Statewide Pricing Pilot) have found that low-income customers do indeed benefit from dynamic pricing programs and smart meters…

Full story: Smart meters and low-income customers: new Entergy pilot program

February 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

Privacy and the smart grid: Advice from Canada

Few Americans know who Dr. Ann Cavoukian is — but in Canada and Europe she’s famous as Canada’s official privacy commissioner.

Last week, over lunch at Distributech (a leading annual smart grid event), Cavoukian explained privacy law to me. In turn, I explained the smart grid and smart meters to her — including how eMeter’s EnergyIP software platform protects consumer data privacy.

Here’s what I learned from her…

Full story: Plan for consumer privacy on the smart grid: Advice from Canada

February 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

UK to boost small solar by revising feed-in tariff

Residential renewable energy production may get a boost in the UK if that nation decides to join Spain, Germany, and Italy in tailoring its feed-in-tariffs (FITs) to provide better financial incentives to homeowners, local municipalities (“councils” in the UK), and small businesses…

Full story: UK joins Spain, Germany, Italy in reviewing feed-in-tariffs

February 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Prepaying for electricity: One consumer’s view on how to make it work

Earlier this week, we wrote about why pay-as-you-go electricity appeals to US consumers. Prepayment is an option that smart meters can make much easier for utilities to implement than is currently the case.

One utility customer from the Midwest wrote in to offer some insight into how to make this option convenient from the consumer perspective…

Read: Pay-as-you-go electricity: One consumer’s view on how to make it work

February 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm

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