Sixty years ago I worked as a plate scrubber and errand boy in a Swedish bakery. In one corner of the bakery stood the oven, a giant cement and stone contraption weighing at least 50 tons. It was run on electricity, turning on every night at 10 P.M. and turning itself off at 5 A.M. First in the morning we baked the Danishes and other good stuff that required the highest heat, and as the day wore on and the oven cooled off, other breads were baked in the order of temperature need. It took some planning, but the price difference between night rates and day rates made it all worthwhile.
This brings me to a truly smart electricity meter.
It would charge the customer at the current cost of generation + transmission cost + utility profit, displaying the current cost at any given time of the day.
The customer would have the right to sell back electricity to the net at the current cost of generation – transmission cost – utility profit.
Knowing the current true price of energy the customer can then delay turning on the clothes dryer until the price goes below an acceptable level. He could take a look at the current price and decide to turn off the air conditioner rather than pay $1.20 per KW, or she could decide: It is worth it.
By making the user rather than the power company decide how and when electricity is used and produced this will bring immense benefits:
Many users will decide to buy a backup generator with battery, charge the battery when the price is low, and discharge the battery when the price is high. If there is excess battery capacity, he can even sell back the excess at the inflated price. And if the price is high enough it is cheaper to use the generator.
This will have immense benefits on the grid, lessening peak demand and increasing the off peak use.
And best of all, should the grid fail, there will be enough generating capacity to run the refrigerators and essential stuff until power is restored.
What prevents this from being realized?
Politicians and the power companies desire to maintain total control over how the net is used. Political regulators hate to give decision making power back to the people.