Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

BB.BB. adminSuper Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
What will the Grid of the Future look like with smart utility meters:
Among the companies announcing projects in the wake of last week's announcement are National Grid, which is planning a $240 million smart-grid upgrade in upstate New York; a Northwest utility consortium led by the Bonneville Power Administration that's reportedly seeking around $200 million; and another consortium led by Florida Power & Light that is planning a $200 million initiative in Miami-Dade County. (One of FPL's partners is GE, which owns NBC Universal, which in turn is a partner in the msnbc.com joint venture.)

The Miami project would involve installing high-tech control systems at power stations, as well as encouraging the use of energy-smart appliances, thermostats and electric meters in homes and businesses. For example, smart washers and dryers can be programmed to do their business during off-peak hours, leveling the load on the local grid. Smart thermostats can automatically adjust themselves to your daily routine. Smart meters can show you how to trim back on power consumption (and your power bill).

The cost savings can range from less than 5 percent to more than 25 percent, depending on whether you're a lackadaisical power user or the home-electricity equivalent of a hypermiler. Kevin and Jodi Linn, a Miami couple profiled on NBC's TODAY show as early adopters of smart-grid technology, say they're saving $100 a month by keeping a close watch on their in-home energy display.
Sounds neat--but, could there be problems?
Msnbc.com's Red Tape chronicler, Bob Sullivan, reported that the issue generated a lot of buzz at a recent conference. He quoted Alan Paller of the security firm SANS as saying, "There was real anger by the security guys, saying these people are out selling new meters that can be taken over by a computer worm."
Cool--Hardening the grid could include installing millions of new points for hackers to access... (the next generation will be better--according to industry).

Will you save money with "smart meters"--as always, maybe, or maybe not... But the savings are typically small, and the upside cost risks can be large:
Various kinds of smart meters are available and in use around the country. Depending on its capabilities, a smart meter — at a cost of about $200 per home — also can play a role in how much information about energy use is made available to customers and how much money can be saved. The most advanced ones allow the utility and the customer to gauge usage and cost immediately, instead of once a month after a meter reader makes the rounds.

Utilities plan to offer a menu of rate plans. In its pilot, PPL offered something referred to as a "time-of-use" rate, where set periods of higher prices contrast with periods of lower prices. In this case, pilot participants paid more between noon and 7 p.m. on weekdays and less the rest of the time.

Some rates, called "real time," change throughout the day as the wholesale price floats up and down. People who sign up for such plans may receive signals, such as e-mails or cell phone messages, to tell them prices are climbing dangerously.
"Critical peak" rates would apply only on the dozen or more highest-demand days of the year.
Many save, some do not:
So far, pilot programs have found that the average customer usually saves money. Critics note, however, that's not always the case.

In the pilot program Brubaker signed up for the past three summers, about one in four PPL customers accumulated bigger bills than they would have logged on the average rate.
As usual--the results seem to be "mixed" and it may not be for everyone:
In a Commonwealth Edison Co. pilot program in Illinois, the average participant paid about 7 percent more in 2005, a departure from the pilot tests of other years. Company officials blamed the increase on spiking prices during an unusually hot summer and the disruption of natural gas supplies caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Last year, about 95 percent of the participants saved money in Commonwealth Edison's open-enrollment residential real-time pricing program, thought to be the nation's first. The majority saved between 7 percent to 12 percent, the utility said. To date, about 4,000 of the utility's 3.3 million residential customers have signed up.

A brochure the utility mailed to customers advises the program might not be for them if, for instance, they don't work during the day, don't have electric heat or have a medical condition.
And assurances like this:
Utility officials say they do not expect such time-based rates to become mandatory for most ratepayers.
Do not really apply to everyone (such as those who installed GT Solar under earlier government incentives--But it does not sound to bad--"if customer has a SmartMeter":
Ongoing daily Time-of-Use (TOU) meter charges applicable to customers taking voluntary TOU service under this rate schedule will no longer be applied if the customer has a SmartMeter™ installed.
However, read five more pages through my rate plan--there is no "IF".
Customers qualifying for an exemption from standby charges under Public Utilities (PU) Code Sections 353.1 and 353.3, as described above, must take service on a time-of-use (TOU) schedule in order to receive this exemption until a real-time pricing program, as described in PU Code 353.3, is made available. Once available, customers qualifying for the standby charge exemption must participate in the real-time program referred to above.
How will this affect me? No idea... Anyone else want to spend $xx,000 to go solar in California if you have no idea what your power costs/plan/regulations will be in a few years?

My power bill (before solar) was around $25 per month... 7% savings equal $1.75 per month... That $200 meter will pay itself back in oh--around 9.5 years.

If you use power around noon-7pm during the week--(oh, like business, or go home--cool down the home and cook)... I don't think you are going to save anything.

Are we going to see business hours where they shutdown between noon and 7pm (sort of sounds like Spain--do they still have the long siestas and very late dinners that we used to hear about over here?).

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot ✭✭ Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    It could generate (unintended pun) even more interest in stand-alone, off-grid power systems. People don't necessarily want to have their daily schedule dictated by utility companies, nor would they want to be vulnerable to the possible failure of ever more complex grid systems.

    But it's certainly interesting!
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    i skimmed the article and i didn't exactly see what this smart meter does. what does it do, just raise your cost rates at some times of the day? a meter is only used to measure and savings are due to somebody acting upon the seeing of their consumption just like we see using a kill-a-watt meter. am i missing something?:confused:
  • n3qikn3qik ✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    Nope just a glorified Kill-a-Watt/T.E.D. The only advantage is if you are TOU, you will see live cost changes. The T.E.D will do TOU, but you must manual program in the cost.

    As it stated in the link, some people can/will not modify when they use things, so they will not save.
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    A smart meter is a two way communications device...

    From the article (and the PG&E rate/tariff information) -- at the very least the meter gives 1 hour (residential) and 15 minute usage information live back to the utility (or, I am sure, on demand).

    And, the utility can give the customer a 2 month (detail) and 13 month summary of their power demands...

    Of course--the bigger issue (for me) is that it gives the utilities (and State PUC's) to do (near) real time pricing (setting your rates 24 hours in advance) and billing you on a per hour (or per 1/4 hour?) pricing/billing plan.

    Somebody here (or on another forum I visit) said that there was even a point where the power company was paying them $0.01 a kWhr to burn energy (over capacity at utility).

    My fear is this will end up like the Enron/California energy "deregulation" debacle.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    BB. wrote: »
    Somebody here (or on another forum I visit) said that there was even a point where the power company was paying them $0.01 a kWhr to burn energy (over capacity at utility).

    Similar to a customer of ours. I design/install HVAC automation systems. One of the things my group has pushed for years is energy savings, and we do pretty good most places. One place in particular - a college campus - saw such a reduction in usage after we had retrofitted three buildings that the utility company warned them they were going to be bumped to a *higher* per-kWh tier! They were actually depending on the campus as a sort of base load, and as long as total usage remained above some number of kWh they got a lower rate.

    This was going to actually increase their bill substantially. We were asked to "waste" some power to keep them above that number! :roll:

    Oh well. If the next few buildings go as the previous ones have, they will see further savings sufficient to counter the higher rates and can stop worrying about it...


    As for residential net-metering and such, I contemplated it. Based on the current pricing for regular and TOU rates, I was able to *just* make the dollars work out in my favor to use a Xantrex XW system, tie my fridge and one or two other critical loads to a subpanel fed by the XW, then set everything up so during the week basically the house shut down. Problem was, that was with me installing - not sure I could get the grid-tie approved (although I wouldn't have turned on actual grid-tie, I'd be feeding a subpanel) and it had no room for repairs. Just wasn't worth the hassle, as fun as it sounded as a project! (Payback wasn't my issue, I wanted an excuse to buy all that gear! :p )

    My boss knows a couple who are on TOU, and do shut down their house each day. Literally, as they leave for work in the morning they kill the main to the house! Saved them quite a bit of money. I come home before 7PM though, and don't want to decide between sweltering in the summer or being taken to the cleaners when I take a day off!

    Edit: I just remembered - what finally sunk my TOU "project" was that the utility wanted to tack on an extra fee for the TOU meter. That killed what little savings I would have seen.
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    ok i get the jist of it i think. now does this meter communicate both ways or just act as a receiver for the utility intent?
  • dwhdwh ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    niel wrote: »
    ok i get the jist of it i think. now does this meter communicate both ways or just act as a receiver for the utility intent?

    It's a computer, connected to an IP based network.

    It does a lot more than just communicate.
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    I have Time of Use metering -- basically my peak is noon-6pm Mon-Fri. And off peak the rest of the time.

    With my solar panels (which are biased towards the SE--not optimum), TOU is great for me. We try to avoid loads during summer afternoons--and the Solar GT PV system outputs about 50% of its energy during this time... I have the freezer on a cheap digital timer which "turns off" from Noon-6pm weekdays--and I added skylights which allow a bunch of light in the room where my kids study and in the middle of the house/stair well which used to be a dark hole. And just avoid using power (ovens, washer, TV, etc.) during peak summer times (we still use power if needed--but if optional, we try to reschedule--not religious about it).

    Right now, our 3.5 kWatt array gives us a huge (~$250) amount of yearly credit on our $5.80 minimum a month electric bill--that we may use for an electric car or for A/C on a bad summer day/week (still have not gotten the car, or turned on the room A/C yet after a couple of years. :roll: ).

    At my rates (baseline tier--only ~225 kWhrs per month before GT solar), I get paid $0.27 per kWhr peak, and pay $0.09 per kWhr off-peak.

    Average residential base-line rate is ~$0.12 per kWhr.

    However, the E-7 rate (TOU as listed above) is not available to new installs (I am sure it is too advantageous for the customer--peak power usage in California can be as late as 8pm-9pm in the summer evenings--hence the new E-6 plan which goes later)--They have to go with E6, which is a very complex rate (different times/rates winter/summer/holidays/weekends along with 4 different billing tiers) that has partial peaks as late as 9pm--which GT solar obviously does not help with.

    It would be darn near impossible to compare an E-6 TOU plan with a E-1 flat rate residential... I believe an E-6 TOU would still be advantageous for my GT system--however, I probably would not want it because I could not really reduce my loads that greatly between ~10am and 9pm--where it would be worth my efforts vs the "costs" if I (or my kids/family) "accidentally" mess up.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    PS: regarding the SmartMeter--it may be tied to your "smart" A/C, washer/drier, etc. to turn those off, or initiate when the rates drop.

    Also, it is possible that a SmartMeter may have the capability to turn off your power (rolling black outs or not paying your bill????). I have seen implications of this capacity--but nothing in black and white.

    As DWH says--it is a fully IP networked computer. And I would see no reason that it could not report back power factor, problems with harmonics, peak usage, or even bill in kAmp*Hours / KVAR (which would make all of those motors/electronics/cheap CFL's look almost 2x as expensive to run because of their (for many devices) power power factor. All of this would be done remotly (no new meter or indication of changes from your utility).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    Smart Meters have a lot of stuff in them and one of them is a ZigBee style radio, for an encrypted link to the power company. Each meter can be addressed by it's serial # and shut off, and turned back on, when the bill gets paid. Just like a cable TV box! Saves lots of trips when an apartment changes occupants.They record peak use, power factor, and with the computer inside, tracks hourly usage, for billing. And crackable.
    And the smart grid, is just another ZigBee module, factory built into your <high usage appliance> that the electric company can override the thermostat control, and power cycles. Makes it easier for the elect company to "Peak Shave", and you pay for it.

    http://www.sans.org/ns2008/night.php
    http://www.sans.org/newsletters/newsbites/newsbites.php?vol=10&issue=43#sID201
    http://www.sans.org/scada09_summit/agenda.php

    Me? a cynic ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Me? a cynic ?

    From the original article:
    In light of those numbers, the nearly $4 billion in stimulus money offered last week by the Energy Department for smart-grid projects might look like a pittance. But it's enough to get the attention of power-industry heavyweights.

    But--its "free money" :grr

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    But--its "free money"

    "free" from my pocket to the bureaucrats, because they have power to arrest
    me, and not vise-versa.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    Our local utility (PG&E from Northern California) is rolling out smart gas and electric meters big time...

    You can read about their program here (PG&E website).
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dwhdwh ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    BB. wrote: »
    Our local utility (PG&E from Northern California) is rolling out smart gas and electric meters big time...

    You can read about their program here (PG&E website).

    http://www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/meter/smartmeter/programbenefits/


    This is the part that makes my BS detector start twitching...

    "New pricing plans that offer your i]sic[/i more control over your energy bills"


    So, if you actually consume anything during peak times...and they charge you some outrageous amount for it...then it's YOUR fault.

    After all, they've given you "more control over your energy bills".
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    it's certainly bs as we've always had control over what we consume. it just isn't always easy going on an energy diet.:roll: yes, they warned you to lose the watts or they will charge you for it. instead of energy doctors trying to help us, they are energy dictators using every excuse to pad their wallets with your money.:grr
  • stephendvstephendv ✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    I like the concept of smart meters and particularly smart devices in the home. It's not just a question of reducing total energy usage but also one of smoothing out the supply and demands on the grid. I read an interesting anecdote about how grid engineers have to plan ahead for half time at major football events in the UK when thousands of people leave the TV go to turn the kettle on.
    Smart fridges, freezers and water heaters that were at least partly controlled by the generation company could help smooth out a lot of these peak demand periods. For example, the user sets an acceptable temperature range for their freezer and the electricity supplier can then choose the temperature within this range. So when there's a surplus of grid power they could cool the freezer down a few extra degrees, and when there's a deficit, they could let it rise a few more and avoid turning the compressor on.
    Users could also choose to program non-critical devices to only turn on during off-peak times and this could also be chosen by the elec company. E.g. user says that dishwasher must come on between 11pm and 6am and the company can then choose when to turn it on in that time period.
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    And so there are many different peoples in the world. I don't have air conditioning, and yet abhor the idea that someone else will decide for me, when to shut it off, and when to turn it on. In California, we call them the "Thermostat Police" for the "Nanny State".

    I can see the usefulness in a CRISIS situation : A fire burns major transmission lines, or a plant looses a turbine, maybe 3 or 4 times a year. But a person should not relinquish control of their house, to a bureaucrat that has stolen the normal power company profit that would be used for maintenance and upgrades, and use it for other purposes. If the power company was silly enough to overpay their staff, and defer plant projects, they deserve whatever scorn the public can heap on them. I don't believe there is any company that is "Too big to fail" and can't be allowed to fail.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    Here is more on the billing side of the SmartMeter from PG&E ("Smart Rate" program).

    For Residential:
    • SmartRate customers will receive a credit of $0.02992/kWh for energy usage from June 1 through September 30, with the exception that the credit will not be given for energy usage that occurs from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on SmartDays.
    • From June 1 through September 30, SmartRate participants receive an extra credit of $0.01/kWh for usage in tiers 3, 4 and 5. [note from BB: tier 0 is <~300 kWhrs per month. Tier 5 >~900 kWhrs per month]
    • SmartRate participants are charged a $0.60/kWh surcharge for just five hours (from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.) on each SmartDay.
    And for businesses:
    • SmartRate customers will receive a credit of $0.02720/kWh, for energy usage from June 1 through September 30, with the exception that the credit will not be given for energy usage that occurs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on SmartDays.
    • From June 1 through September 30, SmartRate participants receive an extra credit of $0.005/kWh for all usage.
    • SmartRate participants are charged a $0.75/kWh surcharge for just four hours (from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) on each SmartDay.
    Everyone out there ready for $1.00+ per kWhr electricity from your utility after Cap&Trade / Carbon Taxes are thrown in? In California--we are getting real close already with a "voluntary" program.

    I am a big believer in free market and charging "real" prices... However, I don't believe that a free market would have come up with this pricing/plan.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    i have little faith in politicians or big business when it comes to something like this. i can see the incentives just disappearing after the majority get those meters and then require everybody to have those meters with heavier penalties instituted for usages in those certain time-frames. a form of bait and switch i think and politicians go along with anything for the right incentives to themselves. that boils down to greed and not so much conservation. so how many more elderly or the disabled on fixed incomes will have to make another possible life threatening choice?
  • RoderickRoderick ✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    SmartRate participants are charged a $0.60/kWh surcharge for just five hours (from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.) on each SmartDay.

    Net metering is supposed to be symmetrical. I wonder if this surcharge will apply in the other direction, too. I smell a court challenge if it isn't. I have no opinion on whether this surcharge is fair, but it would seem to be a boon to those of us who have net metered arrays, but no air conditioning. Our house is almost always a net producer on hot "spare the air" days.
  • dwhdwh ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    stephendv wrote: »
    So when there's a surplus of grid power they could cool the freezer down a few extra degrees, and when there's a deficit, they could let it rise a few more and avoid turning the compressor on.

    This assumes the utility won't just *always* decide that there's a deficit.

    What I see is a new mechanism that could potentially enforce even more inequality - the big users of power (the rich) won't be worrying about their freezers being cold enough - or their home being too hot, whereas the lower income can probably look forward to sweating in the afternoon heat and keeping a close eye on what's in the freezer.

    Users could also choose to program non-critical devices to only turn on during off-peak times and this could also be chosen by the elec company. E.g. user says that dishwasher must come on between 11pm and 6am and the company can then choose when to turn it on in that time period.


    Maybe I'm cynical, but if there are variable rates (and there will be) - then why in hell would I want the utility company to decide when to operate my appliances?

    After all, if they are coming up short on a financial quarter, all they have to do is switch on a bit of extra load during "higher rate" times.
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    PG&E does have other plans... One that allows them to turn your A/C down to 50% cycle. They install a remote control (radio?) device on your A/C (for free) and give you a $50 credit on your bill (one time)?

    They call it the Residential Smart A/C Program. If you have flat rate residential--are people selling out for a one-time $50 fee????

    Or, I guess when Smart Meters and Smart Rates all rollout--then Smart A/C will make more sense (automate PG&E's Smart Wallet'ectomy protection program). Although--at this time the Smart A/C and Smart Rate programs do not seem to be coordinated.

    Notice how everything is named "Smart"... As opposed to Dumb Rube Program?

    If these extra fees where going into Nuclear, Hydro, and "Smart Coal" -- Then this would make sense... However, at this time, it appears that the "high rate" money is ploughed back into reducing off-peak rates (and increasing "baseline" subsidies for the "poor" -- and the cheap; while more money is skimmed into state and federal taxes--and the Gores/T. Pikens of the world).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    Roderick wrote: »
    Net metering is supposed to be symmetrical. I wonder if this surcharge will apply in the other direction, too. I smell a court challenge if it isn't. I have no opinion on whether this surcharge is fair, but it would seem to be a boon to those of us who have net metered arrays, but no air conditioning. Our house is almost always a net producer on hot "spare the air" days.

    Ah, but how much does it produce between 5pm & 7pm (or is it 9pm?) in the summer, when you are home, and active. That's the 2 hours they nail you at, solar PV is low, and your loads go up.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    Smart Grid = hackers paradise & drive by blackouts

    From the SANS.ORG computer security group, their Daily Diary:

    http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=6580
    by Daniel Wesemann (Version: 1) 2009-06-15
    Talk about "critical infrastructure protection"... If the facts behind this article over at "The Register" are true (and I have no doubt that they are), we are currently making our electricity grid more brittle and susceptible to attacks, and we even have stimulus money paying for it. Then again, installing "smart" power meters with broken security clearly does have a stimulus effect - it will create lots of jobs like "Meter Patcher", "Meter Replacer" and "Grid Restarter". But if the average music sharing P2P program uses better crypto than a remotely controllable network of power meters ... then it's probably high time to start paying attention. (Thanks to ISC reader Martin for the contribution)


    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/12/smart_grid_security_risks/
    Buggy 'smart meters' open door to power-grid botnet
    Grid-burrowing worm only the beginning
    By Dan Goodin in San Francisco, 12th June 2009 18:02 GMT
    -excerpt- New electricity meters being rolled out to millions of homes and businesses are riddled with security bugs that could bring down the power grid, according to a security researcher who plans to demonstrate several attacks at a security conference next month.

    Let the fun begin.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • CariboocootCariboocoot ✭✭ Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    The security flaws will also provide incentive for more people to buy grid-tie back-up systems with/without solar and/or go off-grid, thereby reducing the load on the system. Probably not the intent, however.

    Me; off grid and loving it. Big thunderstorm yesterday, but my power stayed on!
  • dwhdwh ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...
    The security flaws will also provide incentive for more people to buy grid-tie back-up systems with/without solar and/or go off-grid, thereby reducing the load on the system. Probably not the intent, however.

    Me; off grid and loving it. Big thunderstorm yesterday, but my power stayed on!

    Unfortunately, those who do will probably end up buying that so-called "solar powered generator" discussed on another thread.

    I doubt that the security flaws in the smart grid will ever be noticed by most people. Let's face it, unless the news media does a story on it - and KEEPS doing stories on it - it just won't be important to most people. They do not understand - nor care to understand - magic.

    Now, once a few "Coolios" get busy "DoS"ing sections of the grid (and THEY WILL), it might be a different story...but I HIGHLY doubt it. After using BackOrifice to DoS Yahoo.com, CNN.com and other major sites right off the net, Coolio was all over the news...for a few days. After that he's been mostly forgotten.

    http://www.dennismoran.org/media/stacks.msnbc.com/news/376219.html

    Even with goofballs like Coolio running around; making it obvious to anyone who is paying attention that there is still a HUGE lack of security-mindedness on the internet - most people just aren't aware of it.

    Security is a hassle, and users WILL bitch about it and WILL resist it. They *always* do. (Just try to get people to stop doing this - "Login: Joe, Password: Joe") Security is also expensive - it takes highly paid people quite a few man hours to constantly oversee proper network security.

    Due to these factors, many companies just put in a token amount of effort to perform "due diligence" as regards their network security.

    And, companies often don't report when they've been hacked. It's a gigantic hassle to notify thousands of people that their personal information may have been (or was) stolen. Add to that the problems of being legally responsible - and companies will - if they can get away with it - just keep mum about the whole thing.


    So, I think that what will happen is that someone will DoS a section of some power grid somewhere, knock a bunch of customers offline, and then someone at the FBI will sit down with a calculator and say, "Okay...if we 'assume' this, and we 'assume' that...then we can say that this outage has a dollar value of (X)". Once the FBI has a number to work with to justify their man hours spent to investigate - then they'll get right on it.

    Eventually, they'll nab someone, have a press conference and "the public" will seethe with outrage...for a couple of hours. Then it will be basically forgotten.

    Meanwhile, the utility companies will be pointing their fingers at the meter vendors, who will respond by coming out with an "upgrade" to the system. Rinse and repeat.


    And anyone who thinks the meter vendors and the utility companies (and Obama's advisors) don't know all this already, then they just aren't paying attention.

    To put it simply - it's the Microsoft strategy, "Get it out there now, we'll fix it later."
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    An update on Smart Meters in our area (San Francisco Peninsula)...

    I talked a bit with an electrician friend of mine and he told me that he has been having a lot of service calls from customers with random power outages--mostly just one leg of service randomly failing and working again (US residential is typically split phase 120/240 VAC--if one power leg fails, 1/2 the lights and outlets loose power--the other 1/2 work fine, and any 240 VAC equipment fails to turn on).

    He went out and checked out their electrical panels and found no issues. In the end, he tells them to call our local utility (PG&E) to replace the meters... And the problem "goes away". One customer had to have two Smart Meters replaced before the problem was fixed...

    Remember, at least in our service area, Smart Meters include a switch that allows power to be turned off remotely--So, it sounds like there may be some sort of design, programming, communications, or manufacturing flaw that is causing the power interruptions.

    So, if you have a Smart Meter and random power cuts (especially with 1/2 your power still working)--save a few bucks and call the utility first and ask for a Smart Meter replacement.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    I wonder what sort of solid state device they use to switch the power with. (and what sort of surge frys it !)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • HorusHorus Registered Users Posts: 24
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    I have read about a lot of problems with these smart meters. Granted the theory is great, i understand what they are there fro, and I'm sure any kinks from the initial release will eventually be worked out. Bit as of this exact moment there are some people fuming mad over their new smart meters and the fact that there hydro bills have more then doubled after having it installed. The article I read is below.

    http://envirogy.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/a-smart-meter-for-your-troubles/
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,634 admin
    Re: Grid of the Future: Smart Meters...

    I keep reading about people that have complained the Smart Meters have caused their power bills to skyrocket... But other than one utility that (apparently) miss-programmed ~5 smart meters (the programmed the meters for solar GT systems as if they were connected through a shunt to read 2x the real power being consumed as they were being programmed for their solar billing program)--there has not been one confirmed incident of a Smart Meter reading incorrectly. The conformation was very easy--Just connect an electric heater (known load) to the home's power system and measure 15 to 60 minutes of power use and see what the meter shows.

    There has been one report where (apparently) a miss-communications of the hourly data from the home to the utility caused a huge peak in hourly power usage--Utility acknowledged the error to the customer and told them that the error will be corrected on the next read (an hour later). It did not self correct on the next read however. (Not sure what the customer did after that).

    The only large scale failure in metering that I can think of is if the old mechanical meters where actually out of calibration (old mechanics, sticky bearing, etc.) and the old meters where actually reading very low--and the new meters are simply accurate.

    I have had a electronic meter (still manual read, not a "Smart Meter") for my Time of Use rate plan--and it seems to be very accurate (when compared to my Kill-a-Watt meter and my Xantrex GT solar inverter)...

    I would think that if inaccurate Smart Meters were such a wide scale problem, that somebody somewhere would be able to prove the meters are giving erroneous readings (using a whole house metering system, or somebody with a kill-a-watt). Other than the one group of incorrectly programmed Smart Meters--I have not read any confirmed failures to bill correctly... :confused::confused::confused:

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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