How the Smart Grid Benefits You
The smart grid is the evolution of our current electrical grid, applying new technologies to optimize the delivery of power to your home and around your community. Using sensors and other digital communications technologies, the smart grid creates the foundation necessary for adding more renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, preventing outages, improving energy efficiency and transitioning to electric vehicles.
The smart grid saves you money
Technology can make energy efficiency more convenient and cost effective, and smart devices today are providing data and automation that help you save money on your monthly power bills. For example, many consumers now have access to real-time energy data and can see which areas of their house may be consuming the most energy or what time of day they may be using too much energy. In addition, this data is powering several improvements from your power company. Smart meters — a key component of the smart grid — are ensuring more accurate billing from power companies and enabling new electric rate plans, such as time-of-use or real-time pricing, that may be a better fit for your lifestyle and energy consumption. There are also system benefits from the smart grid that might be able to save you money with no effort required on your part. For example, smart grid technologies can provide you with a more reliable and efficient power supply that allows your appliances and other electronic devices to operate at their highest efficiencies and minimizes the cost to run them.
The smart grid improves the reliability of power
The smart grid includes several components that help power companies better deliver quality power to your home. Smart meters not only measure the amount of energy used, they also monitor the voltage being delivered. Power companies use this information to ensure their equipment is working as intended. In cases where power quality issues are detected, your power company can locate areas in need of maintenance and prevent future outages and other reliability issues.
When unforeseen events occur, such as a tree falling on a line, a lightning strike or a short circuit, smart grid technologies can sense the problem and automatically reroute power around it. This can mean the difference between a lengthy outage and a momentary one where the only sign something is happening is that lights flicker. Without a smart grid in place, the only way to do this is to send a service crew out to inspect the problem, which means that the outage will last at least until the crew arrives on site.
In addition to letting the power company know of a problem, the smart grid helps diagnose the problem before sending a service, ensuring that the crew has the right equipment to fix the problem. Without a smart grid, one crew would have to go out, inspect the problem and radio for another crew to bring the right materials and supplies. This remote diagnosis significantly reduces both the time and cost for restoring power.
The smart grid enables us to address climate change
As we look to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions, the smart grid is serving as a foundation for integrating clean energy technologies, including solar panels, batteries, wind turbines, electric vehicles (EVs) and more. Smart grid systems are needed to strategically manage diverse and geographically scattered renewable energy sources, and the smart grid ensures that this energy can be stored safely and distributed where and when it’s needed.
The smart grid is also helping us prepare for the electric vehicle revolution. As millions of Americans move to cleaner EVs in the coming years, they will need to charge these vehicles with electricity at home and around their communities. This could present a problem with an older grid in need of modernization. However, the smart grid enables power companies to better prepare for and manage this new demand. The smart grid may even allow for energy stored in EV batteries to go back into the grid when needed.
Why the smart grid really matters for you
The world of energy is in the middle of monumental change, and the foundation of this transformation is the smart grid. The smart grid is empowering you with new data-driven programs and services that are a better fit for your habits and home and is enabling the rapid deployment of clean energy technologies that can reduce carbon emissions. Smart grid technologies are also significantly reducing the number and length of outages. Our communities will benefit from a stimulated economy, improved national security, job creation and a sustained downward pressure on future price increases for electricity. As you can see, the smart grid is leading us to a smarter, cleaner future for all.
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