delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital
technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency. Such a
is being promoted by many governments as a way of addressing
As with any heavily promoted initiative, many similar proposals have many similar names,
including at least
smart electric grid
smart power grid,
, and the more modern
] Deployments and deployment attempts
One of the first attempted deployments of "smart grid" technologies in the
firestorm of criticism and was recently rejected by electricity
According to an article in the
, Northeast Utilities'
Western Massachusetts Electric Co.
subsidiary actually attempted to create a "smart grid"
program using public subsidies that would switch
customers from post-pay to pre-
pay billing (using "
") in addition to special hiked "premium" rates for electricity used
above a predetermined amount.
This plan was rejected by regulators as it "eroded important
customers against shutoffs".
According to the
low-income customers and circumvented Massachusetts laws meant to
keep the lights on".
A spokesman for an
supportive of smart grid plans and Western Massachusetts' Electric's aforementioned "smart
grid" plan, in particular, stated "If used properly, smart grid technology has a lot of potential for
reducing peak demand, which would allow us to shut down some of the oldest, dirtiest power
.. It’s a tool."
In principle, the smart grid is a simple upgrade of 20th century power grids which generally
"broadcast" power from a few central power generators to a large number of users, to instead be
capable of routing power in more optimal ways to respond to a very wide range of conditions.
] Respond to many conditions in supply and demand
The conditions to which a smart grid, broadly stated, could respond, occur anywhere in the
power generation, distribution and demand chain. Events may occur generally in the
environment (clouds blocking the sun and reducing the amount of solar power, a very hot day),
commercially in the power supply market (prices to meet a high peak demand exceeding one
dollar per kilowatt-hour), locally on the distribution grid (MV transformer failure requiring a
temporary shutdown of one distribution line) or in the home (someone leaving for work, putting
various devices into hibernation, data ceasing to flow to an IPTV), which motivate a change to