On June 13 of last month, the Executive office of the President released a document entitled “A POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR THE 21st CENTURY GRID: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future” regarding the creation of the “Smart Grid”.
While some of the Smart Grid project’s scope is to upgrade grid facilities, a key part of the Smart Grid is the implementation of the “Advanced Metering Infrastructure” (AMI) that enables utilities to collect, measure and analyze consumer’s energy consumption date for grid management.
So what is AMI capable of? One pilot study cited in the White House document was done by Bonneville Power of Washington state, which synchronized residential water heaters with wind generation. After tracking a consumer’s water heater usage for two weeks, the power flow to the water heater would be decreased if no “renewable” energy was available. The utility would only do so if they predicted that the family would not need hot water.
The development of the Smart Grid has already begun. $4.5 billion in Recovery Act dollars were given toward its development in order to provide a new electrical grid
infrastructure and “Empowering consumers and enabling them to make informed
“The success of smart grid technologies and applications depends on engaging and empowering both residential and small business consumers. New tools and programs promise to provide consumers personalized information and equip them to make informed energy choices, while ensuring their energy consumption data is accorded privacy protections”.
My response to the paragraph above is that I can make decisions for myself and that
empowerment comes from the Natural Law given to us by our Creator, NOT the government.
But apparently the realization by the administration that many of us won’t buy into the Smart Grid is already anticipated.
Ways to modify power consumers’ behavior and acceptance of the Smart Grid is already being studied. From the documents footnotes 72 & 80 respectively:
“data alone will not help consumers manage their energy usage. Behavior-based messaging is necessary to translate this new data into new insights that motivate customers to use energy differently”.
“We believe it is important to proactively ‘push’ information to customers initially. Over time, as their understanding and interest grows, we expect customers to begin to seek information themselves and utilize self-service tools. To support this evolution, we suggest that policymakers do not necessarily require proactive customer consent for this type of program.”
(Emphasis mine in the above paragraphs)
Several university behavioral studies are cited in the reference section of the White House grid document. From the paper “Social Norms and Energy Conservation”, Hunt
Allcott, MIT and NYU, dated 6/9/10;
“in behavioral economics, there has been a recent surge of interest in “nudges” that induce energy conservation. As popularized by Thaler and Sunstein (2009), a”nudge” is an intervention that changes behavior in a way that increases private or social welfare without changing prices or choice sets”..
and from VanderbiltUniversity- “Energy and Climate Change: Key Lessons for Implementing the Behavioral Wedge”;
“The principles we present here are a starting point for to begin to incorporate social scientific findings into their analyses. Adding these insights can improve the prospects for success of laws, programs, and policies directed at individual and household behavior. To maximize the potential for success, policymakers should combine multiple approaches to behavior change….”
Unbelievably the phrase “empowering consumers” is mentioned eight times within the White House grid document. Yeah, and a pig poop power generating facility doesn’t stink.