Archive for Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lawrence to become first city in Kansas to get smart electricity meters

Lawrence is the first city in the state that will be using the smart grid system. The system will be put into use with the help of a $19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

March 30, 2010

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Thanks to a $19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence will be the first city in Kansas hooked into the smart grid.

Westar Energy officials have finalized an agreement with the DOE to help fund a three-year, $40 million project to bring 48,000 smart meters to homes in Lawrence.

The meters, which Westar officials said should be installed early next year, will allow residents to go online to check how much energy they are using each day. Smart meters have the potential to connect with home appliances, so household energy consumption can be tailored around peak energy use.

And the new meters will automatically alert Westar when power outages occur.

In October, the DOE announced Westar had been selected as one of 100 applicants to receive funding to install smart grid technology.

Before the meters can be used, the utility’s computer and software technology must be upgraded in Topeka.

Starting in 2011, the utility will offer rate plans where energy would cost more during times of high demand and less during times of low use. These plans would be voluntary for customers.

“There have been a number of smart-grid deployments all over the United States,” said Hal Jensen, who is with Westar’s smart-grid program team. “What we really don’t know is what is right for Kansas and what is right for the Westar customer. So that is our primary objective with this project.”

Once the smart meters go in, customers won’t see a change in their electricity unless they want to access more information online, Jensen said.

The smart grid holds the promise of creating a more efficient electric grid and is perhaps the industry’s most significant technological advancement in the past 100 years.

But across the country, concerns have been raised about the privacy and security risk that would come with the smart grid. According to the Associated Press, security experts believe the smart grid is vulnerable to hackers.

With any technology comes the threat of hackers, Jensen said, noting that Westar complies with the latest security requirements and has a group devoted to security issues.

Comments

Rickyonealku 5 years ago

Norman, Oklahoma had been the FIRST city in Oklahoma to use the new meters and they work just fine. No computer hacker problems as of yet...LOL....and yes my Norman, Oklahoma home used less energy after only my first month in service with the smart grid system.

Douglas Garst 5 years ago

Barrypenders - You say it is "free"? Is not there a charge on your electric bill that reads something to the effect of: Advanced Metering Cost Recovery Factor.

If there is, then you new meter is not free; also ask WESTSTAR how many months you will pay that fee.

LogicMan 5 years ago

"Rickyonealku (anonymous) says…

...my Norman, Oklahoma home used less energy after only my first month in service with the smart grid system."

How / why did it use less electricity in the first month?

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years ago

It's not science fiction to believe that one day the houses hooked up to the grid will see the government ration the amount of power that goes to each house. For example, your desire to set your thermostat to 70 degrees in the summer could instantly be trumped by the government's decision to set everyone's thermostat at 78.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

barrypenders (anonymous) says…

Mine works well. It's free too.

barrypenders, living off the taxpayer teet.

Of course, anyone following the typical posts by barrypenders already suspected that.

Self-loathing lives unprecedented.

coolhandluke 5 years ago

@SettingTheRecordStraight - Make sure you've got your tinfoil hat ready!

barry_penders 5 years ago

Now if only we could get a smart barrypenders.

Same repetitive crap, lack of substance, and annoyance beyond any other live unprecedented.

Darwin bless me.

hipper_than_hip 5 years ago

Can you opt out of having the smart meter installed?

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years ago

A $19 million grant? Oh, you mean "granting" my tax dollars.

MattressMan 5 years ago

Smart meters will allow the power company to better monitor your power usage during peak demand therefore charging the high peak demand users more. Peak demand comes at different times of the day but most people will be penalized in the late afternoon/evening hours. You and 10,000 or more others get home from work and that programmable t-stat (the power company wants you to have) which saved you money during the day and actually warmed your house up nicely now kicks on the ac, creating peak demand. Same thing if you don't do your laundry after midnight during the summer, those same people using the dryer in the evening when their ac is going = peak demand. Meters wont do anything to for the average user only create a revenue stream for the power company.

geekyhost 5 years ago

Smart readers allow you to see immediate effects to changes. Do you really know how much you save if you do laundry later or turn off those extra lights? Did that programmable thermostat save you money? No? Check the smart meter.

Yes, I'm sure it could also be used to send the black helicopters to plant mind control chips when you are sleeping, but realistically this is a good thing.

Oh, and I could also see the smart meter as useful for anyone who generates their own power to put back on the grid.

amrose42683 5 years ago

hipper_than_hip (anonymous) says… Can you opt out of having the smart meter installed?

Article reads: "Once the smart meters go in, customers won’t see a change in their electricity unless they want to access more information online, Jensen said."

I'm assuming all meters will be changed out, but you don't have to change anything as far as how the billing and meter reading goes unless you "activate" your account online. May I ask why you would be against having it installed if you have the option to keep things the same, in essence?

scubasteve5150 5 years ago

I'm not comfortable with the energy company having the ability to over-ride my own personal settings inside my home (which this technology will almost certainly grant them) however I'm not OK with the grid being stressed to the point of giving out either. I feel it will impose a little more responsibility on the end user to use the power in a more intelligent and responsible way. It may be a pain in the rear until we get used to it, but rolling black outs (the other option) aren't any fun either. At least this option still allows us "some" option.

Larry Miller 5 years ago

Some of the first installations resulted in higher bills. I haven't seen if the users got a refund. Also from: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20001400-54.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0

"Security consulting company InGuardians was hired by three utilities to test the vulnerability of smart meters from five manufacturers and the systems used to manage them, according to an Associated Press report.

The results were that smart meters, which create a network link between customers and utilities, have a number of potential vulnerabilities that could lead to scenarios such as a criminal remotely turning someone's power on or off, according to the AP report. "

hipper_than_hip 5 years ago

"May I ask why you would be against having it installed if you have the option to keep things the same, in essence? "

Just asking for a co-worker. I live in rural Douglas County, so it won't effect me.

tir 5 years ago

There are some concerns that these smart meters are not secure and could be hacked:

‘Smart’ meters have security holes http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36055667/ns/technology_and_science-security/

I would like to know just how vulnerable the Westar meters are before I would agree to have one.

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