About 10 days ago I talked about smart metering in Indiana and other places (like my home in Southern California) where the electric companies are stepping up to bat and installing the necessary infrastructure so that they and homeowners can take more control of electricity use.
Now, besides the electric companies there are other big players on the Information Technology (or is that Internet Technology) side that are also interested in smart grid applications. Companies such as Google, Intel, Verizon, Cisco Systems, and IBM all have a keen interest in seeing smart grid technology rollout.
But, why would IT companies have such a large interest in the electric companies? As it turns out the electric companies are not very IT savvy or IT equipped when it comes to smart grid technology.
There is money to be made helping the electric company track power usage in their service areas. Using the right software and hardware infrastructure can help avoid power outages in general (and especially as more electric cars are being plugged into the grid in the near future) and quickly start load sharing with other resources.
Like I stated before smart metering inside the home is also supposed to let people monitor their own appliances to see which use more power so that either physical changes or behavioral changes can be made. Let’s for instance say that one day you’ll be able to Google your water heater and see that it is using way too much electricity.
At this point you may want to go down to the hardware store and purchase a $20 blanket for it. Let’s also say that you Google your refrigerator and it is consuming much more electricity that others in the neighborhood.
You can then tell your kids that “they are letting the cold air out” when they endlessly stare at the open refrigerator looking for something to eat or you can fill your refrigerator with food or jugs of water, which also help keep it cold and use less grid juice.
No matter what, when consumers have the information on just how and where the electricity is being consumed in their own homes then conservation may become a bigger motivator in going green for many who wouldn’t have bothered or known how to before.