Smart Grids and unlocked Smart Meters

Smart Meter

Photo Credit Tom Raftery

I have been talking to a lot of Smart Meter and utility companies in the last few weeks and it has been fascinating. I have learned a huge amount about some of the challenges and opportunities involved in rolling our Smart Grids.

The first thing to say is that Smart Grids are coming. None of the utilities I have spoken to have given me feedback to indicate that they are rolling back on their Smart Grid projects – and they all have Smart Grid projects at some level, whether it is in planning, in trial or in roll out.

One of the questions I have asked and not received a satisfactory answer to yet is “What happens if I decide to change utility co.? Does my existing utility come along, take the Smart Meter off my wall and my new utility then needs to send an engineer to install their Smart Meter?” Unfortunately, so far the answer to this appears to be “Yes”!

In reality, this will probably be solved with some kind of cost or asset transfer solution.

As an electricity consumer (be that industrial or residential), ideally what I want is either an ‘unlocked’ Smart Meter, or one which is owned by the grid management company, as opposed to one which is locked into a particular utilitity.

In fact, for me the ultimate solution would be a neutral Smart Meter which can go out at all times, find the cheapest electricity at that time and pull from that utility!