Public Service Commission to Study Smart Grid Technology
The Kentucky Public Service Commission will begin a studyof smart grid technology, and whether the devices will help electric consumers.The term “smart grid” is used to refer to technology like smart meters, and other equipment that helps utilities monitor electricity and detect outages. PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says the tools can be useful for consumers, too.“Smart grid technology enables the use of dynamic pricing, which ties the cost of power to the time of day that it is used and to the overall demand on the system,” he said. “Customers can use the technology to monitor pricing and alter their usage accordingly.”This ordermarks the third time since 2006 the PSC has studied smart grids. The commissioners plan to look at all the issues related to implementing the technology, including implementation cost and whether the devices would encourage energy efficiency.Opinions on smart meters nationwide are mixed. Many environmental groups have embraced them, as a way to improve energy efficiency, and they’re supported by lobbyists and special interest groups. But some say there are concerns about privacy and health effects.Consumers Digest concluded in 2011 that the devices may not deliver on the cost savings they've promised.