On "Smart" power meters

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"[WASHINGTON] Millions of households across America are taking a first step into the world of the "smart grid," as their power companies install meters that can tell them how much electricity they are using hour by hour - and sometimes, appliance by appliance. But not everyone is happy about it."
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/us/14meters.html?_r=2&ref=instapundit
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Seems to me to be similar to the mystery pricing adopted by the big oil companies. No one has any really clear reason why gas prices go up 20 cents or more in one day and down 10 cents the next. The oil companies say the prices are set by traders in the market (who don't even own the product). Another case of pointing the finger at the phantom world of financial derivatives?
Joe
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HeyBub wrote:

I see a way for the government to control you through taxing your energy usage based on the time of day. Or, law enforcement seeing your power usage and deciding that you must be doing something illegal like growing pot in your basement. It's all about control, I knew it when BeeHO started yapping about smart grid technology. Control the energy supply, control access to health care, control the flow of information (kill conservative talk radio) which will lead to control of the citizenry which will turn them into subjects. Hell people, just give up now!
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

Another FOX "news" viewer?
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Bob F wrote:

The article is from the New York Times. If you mean these comments, he can't be a Fox viewer because Fox does not counsel 'giving up.' In fact the network's motto is "Never give up! Never surrender!"
I stayed up one night and saw their "sign-off." It went something like this (paraphrasing):
"Just there the barbarians huddle, sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers. Knowing full well the horrors they faced at the hands of 300, they stare now across the plains at TEN THOUSAND Spartans commanding THIRTY THOUSAND free Greeks! Today we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in future brighter than anything we can imagine!"
Or maybe it was the end of a DVD.
I forget.
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HeyBub wrote:

They must be fans of the Tim Allen movie "Galaxy Quest". *snicker*

You do realize the "give up" remark was in jest?
TDD
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Bob F wrote:

I listen to all of the news outlets when I get a chance, no favorite.
Sorry, I'm not a Republican, Republicans disgust me but Democrats are special, they horrify me.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

I applaud your quest for ecumenism, but the following are NOT news outlets:
CNN ABC CBS NBC MSNBC CNBC The History Channel Home Shopping Network or Turner Classic Movies
--
Headline News is pretty newsy as is The Weather Channel. And, of course, Fox
News.
  Click to see the full signature.
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HeyBub wrote:

But they are clearly a lot closer than Fox.
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On Tue, 15 Dec 2009 10:31:29 -0600, HeyBub wrote:

Hmm, might it be that the new meters aren't measuring the load in the same way as the meters they're replacing?
I suppose I wouldn't mind a meter with an RS232 or (spit!) a USB port on it, so *I* could query consumption at any time...
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Not so much "control", just a blatant method of raising the prices while saying it is your fault it costs so much. Get used to doing your laundry and cooking after midnight, that is when the rates you have now will kick in, while the daytime and evening rates will skyrocket. We have these meters here but the local utility hasn't started billing according to time of day.
Polititians all claimed we would save money, just like they did when they implented "free market" to the natural gas heating. It all costs much more than one could ever imagine. My electric bill is now approaching $500.00 per month, where only a few years ago we had the lowest electric rates on the continent. And that is before they implement the time of day billing.
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On Tue, 15 Dec 2009 13:17:54 -0500, EXT wrote:

I'm pretty sure ours is a flat hourly rate, no matter what time of day - but the rate *does* change after n kWh on each bill. We've got the dryer, water heater and the baseboards all on an off-peak tariff, so those are pretty cheap no matter when they use them - but they're a bit unpredicatable as to when they work...

Ouch. I don't think ours ever goes above $200, and that's with all the electric baseboards (family of 5, couple of computers running 24x7, electric stove - plus a fridge/freezer that's over 30 years old and probably inefficient as hell...) cheers
Jules
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It's a form of rationing that the rich aren't subject to because it's chump change to them.
I would rather see ration coupons wherein people could sell their unneed coupons on the open market.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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Caesar Romano wrote:

It's called "Cap-and-Trade." You're not alone in wanting it. It's the goal of the Luddites.
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wrote Re Re: On "Smart" power meters:

Sorry, I didn't explain myself well. What I would really like to see is about 150 new nuclear power plants built in the U.S. But that's not going to happen, so we are going to see some kind of rationing soon. Given that, I would rather see coupon-rationing rather than price rationing since price-rationing only applies to the middle class.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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Caesar Romano wrote:

If the price of power goes up astronomically, the "middle-class" will DEMAND nuclear power plants. With your coupon scheme, a whole new regulatory body will spring up to administer the coupons. There'll have to be exceptions (like for iron lungs and exigent circumstances, agencies of government, hospital, charitable, religious, and eleemosynary institutions), there'll be counterfeiting and black-market enterprises, accounting gimmicks, and so on.
No, rationing by price is the only method that's been proven to work.
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EXT wrote:

We've been doing that for a long time...sign up for the plan, receive a monthly discount for limiting up to 15 minutes use of the AC and water heater during peak times. Elec. power supply goofy enough here in FL that one does not want to risk MORE outages than needed. Our power blinks off for a second or two often enough to be truly irritating...interval is about how long it takes me to get around to resetting the clocks on ALL of my labor-saving devices :o)

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On Tue, 15 Dec 2009 13:17:54 -0500, "EXT"

Oh, well, I guess they "think" they have a solution to that problem: Not only the power grid is supposed to "go smart", but also the appliances connected to it. So, prepare your washing machine, dishwasher or whatever, and have it start up automatically, grid-controlled, when rates are the low - probably even automatically when rates have fallen below a threshold you have set yourself.
In practice - well, I wouldn't really want my washing machine to automatically go off at 3 am when I'm trying to sleep a few rooms down the hallway, just because electricity may be cheapest at 3 am...
Greetings, Nils
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Nils Holland wrote:

I think it's better to have the power usage spread out. Imagine what would happen if all the laundry equipment in a community kicked on at 3:00am. Guys I know who work for the city water department tell me that when something like The Super Bowl or big college game is being broadcast, they can tell when the commercials come on because there will be a drop in water pressure.
TDD
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wrote:

Right, special off-peak rates have been available here in Germany for ages too. I used such a plan in my previous flat as well, where a storage heater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storage_heater) was "charged" with heat during the night, which it was supposed to pass on to the air in the room during the day. Such storage heaters are switched on, via the power grid, remotely by the utility company. Generally, they guarantee that they willdeliver a certain number of off-peak power hours per night, but don't tell exactly when the off-peak power kicks in, so they have more freedom with their load situation. I remember that slight "click" sound at different times, when the storage heater was remotely turned on.
Nothing bad about that actually, as it allowed for the utility companies to get rid of their excess capacities at night, and for the owner of a storage heater to get (relatively) cheap electronic heat. What would be possible under the umbrella term of "smart grid" goes so much further than this, however, that I'm not sure if I'd really like to see things go that extra mile. What we could see now are really constantly changing, unpredictable prices - just like gas prices. Not completely impossible (though requiring more new technology than just a smart meter) would even be scenarios where more money gets charged for certain kinds of devices. Probably I'm just being a bit pessimistic here, but if it can be done (and if someone can make more money with it), it probably will be done.
Let me add that Germany originally decided to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2021 - without having a definitive answer where our electricity is supposed to come from then. Our new government (in office since the end of October) revised this decision a little bit and plans to keep at least some of the nuclear power plants in service for longer, but there are still no plans to build new ones, even though they would actually be safer and more efficient. Well, well...
Greetings, Nils
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