IEEE Spectrum reports on a smart meter pilot in Boulder, CA.
How do consumers actually behave when they have real-time data on their electricity usage. Do they use less? How much? Is it worth the investment for power cos.? For consumers? Will efficiency be rewarded or penalized due to regulations? Regarding investment risk:
”The real risk” in implementing the whole panoply of smart-grid technologies, says Xcel in a white paper, ”is that these technologies that transform conservation and efficiency efforts can lead to degradation of the regulated return and uncompensated demand destruction.” In plainer English, getting consumers to use less electricity could mean, unfortunately, that their utility would make less money, unless regulators give it some kind of break.
And then there are the service design issues inherent to online monitoring systems: what information to present? how to present it? carrots or sticks? iphone/web/? customer journey? Privacy?
IT-based service design issues are as critical to the success of demand response systems as well-designed regulation.