When it comes to electricity, being off the grid is a good thing. Opower reports that its home energy management software platform will help United States consumers save one terawatt hour of energy by the end of 2012, which is equal to removing 100,000 average homes off the grid for a full year.
Maine lawmakers are deferring to the Public Utilities Commission over whether or not consumers should have the right to opt out of having a smart meter installed by Central Maine Power (CMP). The state legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee also shelved a bill that would have imposed a one-year ban on installation of the meters, meaning it is up to the Public Utilities Commission to determine the merits, costs, and effects of letting some people opt out of the program.
California is expected to be the United States’ leader in electric car drivers. While good for the state’s environment, California utilities need to implement strategies that accommodate the power needs of communities identified as potential EV strongholds such as Berkeley, Santa Monica and San Diego. The concern is that an overload of neighborhood transformers could trigger local blackouts.
Central Maine Power Company has presented an innovative proposal to the state’s Public Utilities Commission that offers solar panels connected to smart meters feeding electricity into the power grid; subsidizing low-income residents to weatherize homes; and a special ombudsman to assist landowners resolve disputes over power line, in exchange for approval on a transmission project sought by the utility to upgrade its aging, high-voltage network, which spans 350 miles from Orrington to the New Hampshire border. The PUC plans to debate the proposal this week, which .
The California Public Utilities Commission is being urged to put a moratorium on Pacific Gas & Electric’s planned July deployment of smart meters in Fairfax, located just north of San Francisco. The Fairfax town council wants an independent third party to review the smart meter program and also wants the PUC to make participation in the smart meter roll out voluntary, so residents can opt out. Fairfax is located north of San Francisco.
Idaho Power has secured $47 million in stimulus funding as part of the Department of Energy’s Smart Grid Initiative. The utility’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program, including smart meters, was previously approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.
In addition to testing Oncor’s smart meter units, Navigant Consulting, the independent consultant hired by the Texas Public Utilities Commission will also test the software systems used to relay customer data to back-office systems to make sure the data is being processed accurately.