“This All Sounds Great, But Who Foots the Bill?”
As with anything good these days, the Smart Grid will cost money. Nothing of this scale and usefulness is going to come cheap … Okay, so who pays the bill?
We (the consumers) do, naturally.
Our taxes go into programs designed to promote and provide incentives for Smart Grid technology. Our utility payments will reflect the cost of installing the new technology and the maintenance. A lot of concern has been raised about the cost of smart meters. One side of the argument claims that the costs will be too high for it to be viable for consumers. The other side of the argument claims that the savings will offset the cost. They are both right, in most cases, but as it has proven throughout history: if there were no money to be made, it wouldn’t happen.
“What Are The Consequences Of A Smart Grid?”
Aside from the costs, nothing. In the beginning, there was the same concern from the goofballs that said that cellphones would give you brain tumors. They claim that having smart meters emitting radio signals would give us all cancer, despite the fact that there has never been a shred of credible evidence to support that theory. According to their thinking, all the Wi-Fi signals that already exist would have turned us in to walking tumor factories. All long before we had to address the potential for a “smart meter” to affect us.
“How Do We Educate Ourselves About the Smart Grid?”
With a laundry list of benefits, the Smart Grid initiative starts to sound like another sales pitch. What the Smart Grid offers, in reality, is a smarter consumer. One with the ability to monitor your power consumption instantly – all the way down to the appliances in your house that use the most power. We are essentially educating ourselves to use our electricity more intelligently. The benefit is widespread, but it starts on an individual level. It’s the same principle that McDonalds incorporated by showing a calorie count on its menu. Maybe if you knew how many calories were in that Big Mac, you wouldn’t eat a third one. Well, maybe if you knew how much power your washing machine used, you would quit washing dish towels by themselves and load it up to the brim with every cycle.
It boils down to this: as consumers, we have just as much responsibility for our personal efficiency as the providers do. No matter how smart or dumb that 125 year-old grid may be.