Digital Electric Meters and the Future of Energy Pricing

In the not too distant future, many of us will have the option of switch from our standard analog energy meters to digital ones. Along with this will come the ability (depending on the level of deregulation in your state) to purchase energy in different ways.

For example, you will be able to control the energy usage of major appliances such as air conditioners, washers, dryers, etc. This will allow you to load balance your electrical usage. You will be able to set a budget for say your air conditioner. When the price of electricity goes up, the thermostat will automatically rise so you do not spend as much.

Even better, if and when battery technology improves, you will be able to purchase more energy in the evenings at a lower price and store it for use during the day when prices are higher. It is very cool stuff.

One possible additional benefit will be to allow you to purchase you electrical energy from different sources, or at least from different plans based on provider. This would mean that you could buy a “green plan” which will tell your provider to purchase more from green or alternative sources on the grid. Cool huh?

Now, what if I told you that these green plans will cost two to three times the traditional plan. Would you opt for the green plan? Why or why not?

ET HORA LIBELLUM DELENDA EST

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4 Responses to “Digital Electric Meters and the Future of Energy Pricing”

  1. Robert Wood September 1, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    What I really like about the possibility is that it’s an option to choose your source. The other side of that is, your electricity wouldn’t necessarily be coming from the source you specify. It would be lumped with all of the other power purchased by your provider.

    It also means they can control who are affected by power shortages. The good of that they can make sure the people they know have respirators can keep power while those of us who will continue to breathe without power for a few hours might not.

    It might mean that the guy down the road who has tons of money and pays a higher rate for his electricity doesn’t experience as many brown outs as his neighbor who doesn’t pay the higher rate.

    BTW, the digital meters won’t be optional. They’ve already replaced almost all of the meters in the town I live in. It’s so they don’t have to send out meter readers any more. They just pull up the info in their computers.

  2. clark.haley@bcsprosoft.com September 1, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Not only is this cool technology, it MUST be implemented if we are going to reduce our carbon footprint. Not only should we NOT be paying more for renewable energy, it is time for us to start paying a premium for non-renewable energy sources such as coal and gas. Sustainable energy will only become cost efficient when we force it’s use.

  3. Peter Wolf September 1, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    “BTW, the digital meters won’t be optional. They’ve already replaced almost all of the meters in the town I live in. It’s so they don’t have to send out meter readers any more. They just pull up the info in their computers.”

    Synergy there. The company saves money in the long haul and the customers get better options.

    Here’s some more tips to save money immediately:
    Start telecommuting immediately (insane $$$ savings here).
    Replace your incadescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.
    Replace your old fashioned thermostat with a programmable.
    Put your TV, DVR, DVD, etc on a power strip and turn it off when not in use (they keep sucking juice if you don’t).

    And for the hard-core:
    Get rid of your refrigerator and get an insulated metal box and fill it with blocks of ice.
    Replace iPads with notepads and pencils.
    Go the library for your Internet needs.
    Replace your cell phones and smart phones with an old-fashioned rotary dial.

  4. Robert Wood September 1, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Peter

    The blocks of ice would cost more and waste more energy to create and transport than it would to just run the fridge.

    The biggest green initiative would be to shut down the internet.

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