Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smart Grid - Why utilities don't participate in Smart Grid initiative?

There are many utility experts that don’t see the benefits of Smart Grid initiative. As consequence, we might get into new high tech bubble situation. Without utilities’ participation the stimulus and other money might not be spent wisely.

Last week, I have heard one of local (Alberta) utilities’ VP saying that AMI investment can not be justified. Those smart meters (AMI) for residential market for example are going to be obsolete in 5-7 years, while financial calculations for those equipment amortisation through energy saving are based on 30 years.

On the other hand, US DOE consultants are saying that each percent of T&D system efficiency improvement means billions dollars in savings. The DOE claims that cost of outage is $500 per capita per year in the USA and probably in Canada as well. Now, it seems to me, that the utilities don’t see the situation the same way as the others.

Now, the question is “why?” Why the utilities are not motivated to participate in Smart Grid initiative? Is it because the cost of outage is much bigger for the end user of energy (mostly commercial and industrial), compared to utilities’ cost of “energy not delivered” during outage? Is it because the AMI is dominant focus in Smart Grid initiative, instead of focusing on substation automation and integration?



  1. The US is investing billions towards the smart grid and that seems to be a step in the right direction. The introduction of this technology however requires discussion to ensure that consumers who will be at the receiving end understand its implementation. The infrastructure of the power grid also needs to be made efficient. Much of the energy generated does not reach consumers precisely because much of it is lost in transmission. Even though energy efficient transformers cost extra, we as consumers need to push for them. Visit the Pacific Crest Transformers website to learn all about energy efficient transformers.

  2. There are three types of customers: industrial, commercial and residential. The industrial customers are interested in details about transformer efficiency, the commercial customer are less interested and residential customers are not interested at all.