The Environment

“Much early rhetoric about the smart grid and its potential was visionary and grandiose but what has been delivered has been less impressive, offering little or no public benefit but much public expense.”

Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid; National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy; Dr. Timothy Schoechle

 Seattle City Light and other utilities frequently make extensive claims about the environmental benefits of “smart” meters. In their white paper, City Light states:

“Advanced meters will bring new functionality to operations and customers by empowering customers with more frequent and accurate information about their energy use, enabling them to conserve natural resources, reduce carbon emissions and contribute to long term cost savings that help keep rates low.” Seattle City Light White Paper on AMI

However, City Light offers no data to support these sweeping claims. Instead, several state attorney generals as well as government officials in other countries, have admitted that very little energy is being saved by “smart” meters. Sampling of recent news articles from around the globe: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

“Consumers don’t need to be forced to pay billions for so-called smart technology to know how to reduce their utility bills. We know to turn down the heat or air conditioning and shut off the lights. The utilities have shown no evidence of billions of dollars in benefits to consumers from these new meters, but they have shown they know how to profit.I think the only real question is: How dumb do they think we are?”

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois, June 21, 2011

The global accounting firm, Ernst and Young, commissioned by Germany to study the cost-benefit of EU “smart” meter implementation targets in their country concluded that:

“smart meters in particular for small consumers are not cost-efficient, as the potential savings would be well below actual costs of smart meters and their operation.”

Ernst and Young study, July 2013. GermanEnglish.

Firing the approximately 35 meter readers in Seattle and getting those cars off the road offers only token energy savings. What is truly needed in order to fight climate change and radically reduce global carbon emissions is to rethink the architecture of utility production and distribution business, beginning with dismantling the century old centralized production model and transitioning to distributed small scale renewable production and localized grids. Read more on this topic in our Solutions section.