Consumer backlash curbing smart grid roll-outs Companies mentioned: Edison Electric Institute, OpenADR Alliance, AutoGrid Systems EnerNOC, Alstom Grid, Cisco, ABB, Comverge, Israel Smart Energy Association, and The Global Smart Grid Federation
Policy Brief 10 – 16 May 2012
Other companies mentioned: GridWise Alliance (U.S.), EDSO for Smart Grids (EU), India Smart Grid Forum, and Japan Smart Community Alliance, REGEN Energy, Wireless Glue, Universal Devices Ventyx; Duke Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, Institute for Information Industry and Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute
Consumer backlash curbing smart grid roll-outs
Some utilities in the United States are putting off plans to modernise power grids as a growing number of consumers voice concerns over health and privacy issues of smart meters.
The backlash has not only slowed improvements to the nation’s power grid as some utilities hold off on rollout plans, but made regulators re-think and weigh the potential benefits against the cost of the programs, expected to reach nearly $29bn nationwide by 2015.
According to a Bloomberg report, lobby group Edison Electric Institute said that regulators in California, Maine, Nevada, and Oregon are allowing utilities to impose a surcharge on consumers who want to keep their conventional meters. The surcharges will enable utilities to roll-out smart grid and meter programmes and generate revenues to pay for dispatching workers to homes each month to record usage.
However, some states, such as Vermont, are not allowing smart meter opt-outs to be charged to the consumer, which could start a precedent for other states wishing to push fees on consumers.
OpenADR attracts industry leading members
The OpenADR Alliance, a nonprofit corporation created to foster the development, adoption and compliance of a Smart Grid standard known as Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR), has said that is has gained more industry-leading members, including AutoGrid Systems and EnerNOC at the sponsor level with Alstom Grid, Cisco, Comverge, REGEN Energy, Wireless Glue, Universal Devices and Ventyx; an ABB Company at the contributor level; And Duke Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, Institute for Information Industry and Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute as adopters.
With the addition of these companies and 27 individual members, the alliance's total membership has reached 71 members with representatives from utilities, independent system operators (ISOs), regulators and controls suppliers.
The strong momentum of the OpenADR Alliance is highlighted by its 44 percent growth in membership since December of last year, as well as the successful testing of OpenADR2.0a-compliant products.
Israel joins GSGF
The Israel Smart Energy Association (ISEA) has joined The Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF), an international collaborative effort among national smart grid associations.
ISEA promotes technology innovation, economic development while enhancing cooperation for the electricity network of the future, bringing Smart Grids from vision to reality.
"ISEA is pleased to be joining the Global Smart Grid Federation," said Amos Lasker, ISEA Chairman. "Smart Grid development is an important factor in building a sustainable and secure energy infrastructure in Israel including energy, transportation and the security of energy supply in our region. The ability to collaborate on a global scale will result in a clearer understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."
The Israel Smart Energy Association is the tenth member of the GSGF, joining GridWise Alliance (U.S.), EDSO for Smart Grids (EU), India Smart Grid Forum, Japan Smart Community Alliance, Korea Smart Grid Association, Smart Grid Australia, Smart Grid Canada, SmartGrid GB (Great Britain), and SmartGrid Ireland.
GSGF reports global smart grid findings
The Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF), which is a collaboration among national and regional smart grid associations from around the world, has released its inaugural report on the global state of smart grid.
The report investigates the key challenges facing deployment of smart grid as well as highlights leading projects from around the world. The report is based on extensive research from current GSGF member markets; Australia, Canada, Continental Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, Korea, Japan and the United States.
The report interviewed leading smart grid project managers around the world and reached a few key conclusions. One of the prevalent issues that came out of the report was the funding of national security objectives, environmental policy goals and job growth is being passed from the tax payer to the electricity rate payer.
Engaging consumers from the beginning of the smart grid deployment process is a key to success, therefore utilities should be less technocratic in their approach and employ best practices from other consumer-centric industries, said the report.
Another conclusion was that as smart grids increasingly become the mechanism to meet environmental, security and economic goals, there is a role for governments to work closely with utilities in stating the value of consumer participation.
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