Who pays for the Smart Grid?

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)* released a new report, “Estimating the Costs and Benefits of the Smart Grid: A Preliminary Estimate of the Investment Requirements and the Resultant Benefits of a Fully Functioning Smart Grid”.

According to this report the Smart Grid could cost nearly three times what EPRI originally predicted, or around $480 billion dollars.  On an EPRI briefing call this morning the EPRI panelist, when asked who pays for this, stated, “ultimately the consumer pays for everything.”

Not only do customers pay for the Smart Grid, in order to fully participate in the “benefits” they will need to pay upwards of $46,000 for a solar inverter, vehicle to grid converter, consumer energy management systems, in home displays, grid ready appliances, communications upgrades for building automation, and residential storage back up. This estimate does not include the cost of a solar system, an electric vehicle, or larger grid ready appliances. Adding these costs into the equation raises the consumer costs to an estimated $90,000, plus the costs of the Smart Grid which, if approved, will be incurred through rate hikes mandated by the Public Utilities Commissions in each state.

*EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States.

3 thoughts on “Who pays for the Smart Grid?”

  1. It’s true, the costs are incredible to the consumers and federal taxpayers, and there is absolutely return on investment (ROI) for the consumers, the only benefit is to the utility corporations, the meter and automation controls manufactures and all the IT people that will have endless work programming.
    One example is electric vehicles. The cost of purchase of the vehicle itself, the installation of a new second meter (an E9) for vehicle charging only, is $4,000 to $6,000. The cost of hiring an electrician to upgrade the main service and install new circuits to feed the new charging systems is another $4,000 on up to “the sky’s the limit”. The cost of the home automation systems like ZigBee and HomePlug powerline carrier systems, the new appliances and all the energy to operate these systems and the new meters is huge. And keep in mind, that all these automation systems for the HAN’s and the appliances are the customers property, and must be programmed and maintained by the customer.
    I will never have any HAN installed in my house or in any appliances, so all this money that the power corporations are spending to equip every new AMI meter with HAN capabilities is a huge waste of our money. Many people will never use external remote controls in their houses.
    In this economy, even people with money are hanging on to it now more than ever. I know because I am in the industry and see what is happening in the market firsthand, and I might also add that there are many people who don’t have a lot of money either, and they simply can afford these new automation systems.

  2. Have just started getting into this. Focus on lawsuits & legal aspects. Thx. John.

  3. Oh yeah, it looks really bad when you clump all the costs together and make it look like the entire cost has to be incurred all at once. What the Smart Grid needs is a solid, agreed upon plan that can be gradually implemented in order to minimize the impact. This will also allow the cost savings and payback to begin slowly rolling in an as well. It’s like a restaurant telling you that your $30 meal is cheaper than eating at home because to cook the meal at home you’d have to buy all the ingredients such as a bag of flour. Well duh, I’ll get way more than one meal from the accumulated ingredients but when you add them all up in one number it looks big. Don’t fall for this numerical tomfoolery.

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