Smart Grid Proof?

Bob Bruninga bruninga at
Sun May 2 14:06:05 CDT 2010

> it would be useful if the "smart grid" 
> guys could explain what problem they are 
> solving in any detail,

As a modern day ludite, and one who cannot stand the thought of microprocesors in toasters and water heaters, I was not just skeptical, but incensed when I first heard the concept smart-grid, and imagined cell-phone RF devices on every home power line.  I was sure it was just the next gimic to sell us something.

But after digging in to it, I am now 100% convinced it is the way to go.  Think about it.  There is only one industry that is even less forward thinking and stuck in their old ways than the American Detroit car makers, and it is the power companies.  So ANYTHING could be done better than the way we are now doing it which dates to Edison over 100 years ago!

The answer of the smart grid is simple.  The cost of electricity varies over 10-to-20 to 1 based on instantaneous supply and demand.  But since customers have no way of knowing when to buy, and BGE has no way to tell customers when it is cheap, everyone just keeps consuming like there is no tomorrow and we all pay much more than the average cost.... just to meet the vrey expensive peaks.

Smart grid is simple.  You say how much you are willing to pay versus how badly you need it and you pay accordingly.  The smart grid simply supplies according to your own established economics.

Set your AC to only use 6 cent electricity and your house can probably stay almsot as kool as the setting that says "ill pay anything at any time to keep get my amps".  

Setting your electric clothes dryer to come on for one hour when the electric rate drops to 3 cents is much more cost effective then just running any time at 17 cents during a summer day.

Plugging your electric car in over night to start immediately at 11 PM (when everyone elses turns on for the evening rate) is not a good idea.  But telling the grid that you want a guarnateed 10 KW overnight, but only at the lowest rates below 5 cents..  And let the grid move the load around to keep its load constant and CHEAP.

ANyway, now I am fully insupport of the smart grid.  Because I am willing to forego my unfettered demand (at any price they want to charge) in exchange for being able to consume electricity only when rates are low.  Like most hams, I am cheap,  I enjoy saving moeny, and I enjoy benefiting (by buying things cheap) compared to those modern clueless consumers who have no clue how things work.

Something like that anyway...

Bob, Wb4APR

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