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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Smart Grid Saves You Money with Transparent, Timely Energy Pricing

Those darn greenies and their good ideas, saving us money....

I was just reading my Sioux Valley Energy newsletter when I came upon another really good explanation (available here in PDF) of how the smart grid will save you and me money.

Sioux Valley Energy is getting $4 million in stimulus money to cover about half the cost of installing 23,000 smart meters—that's a meter for everyone Sioux Valley juices up. Once those meters are installed, Sioux Valley will be able to implement variable power pricing based on peak load and time of day. When demand spikes, utilities have to buy more expensive supplementary power. The power I use for my computer during peak hours costs more than the power I use in the middle of the night. Smart meters will allow Sioux Valley to charge me different rates for the power I consume based on when I use it.

Sioux Valley CEO Don Marker explains it this way in his column in the December newsletter:

The idea is that these smart meters will allow you to monitor, whether that be through the Internet, via email or by text messages, your electric usage at any given point in time. So you can make the choice whether or not to run your dishwasger when the price of electricity is really high, or wait until the price goes down. In the future, "smart" appliances will allow you to program them to coordinate with the price of electricity [Don Marker, "$4-Million Grant for Smart Grid: Unique Opportunity or SVE Members," Sioux Valley Energy Connections, Dec. 2009].

Smart meters will let us see electricity prices on our computers the same way we see gas prices on the signs all over town. We'll see the numbers right in front of us, and we'll be able to adjust our power usage to save some money. (Of course, I suppose it's possible that there could be some crazy reverse feedback spike when we pennypinchers see the electricity price suddenly drop, shout "Buy Buy Buy!" and all crank up our washing machines at once. Smart meters should make a great thesis topic for some eager MBA!)

Sioux Valley says the smart grid technology will help it put off building new power plants and infrastructure, which means of perhaps $4 million a year. In other words, Sioux Valley's eight-million-dollar investment—half from customers, half from taxpayers and deficit spending via the stimulus—could pay for itself in two years. Hmmm... looks like all that deficit spending could actually leave more money in our grandkids' pockets.

Smart grid technology makes sense whether you're a treehugger or a pennypincher. Let a few fringe elements try to stir Big Brother fears; I'm ready for Sioux Valley to hook me up and save me some money!


  1. Excellent post, Cory! They call the energy we can save (and money) "the first fuel" because conservation techniques which are part of the Clean Energy Jobs bill will make the transition to a clean energy economy very productive for consumers. This is quite a gift for the customers of Sioux Valley Energy. I've got a high regard for Don and the folks who work there. Keep up the good work and happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Using the existing grid smarter is one way to avoid, or at least delay having to do upgrades to accommodate the peak demand. These smart meters will allow the free market to prevail and that is something that all good conservatives should support.

    By the way it's now 5am and I've been doing laundry since 4am.

  3. Steve Sibson11/26/2009 7:27 AM


    If these smart meters are "free-market", then why is the governemnt paying for it in the name of faux stimulus? Government interference is the anti-thesis to free-market.


    I will be working on exposing your organization for being one planted in South Dakota to promote the Global Warming myth that has now been proven by emails garnered from those who have created the myth. We also know that Copenhagen is their goal, or in other words...the creation of the New World Order. You and your fellow Progressives need to understand that you are doing favors for the rich plutocrates who are trying to control everything in this world so that they can maximize their enrichment.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Steve.

  5. Steve, that was nicely put to describe a certain segment of Republicans: "rich plutocrates who are trying to control everything in this world so that they can maximize their enrichment." Like GW's Skull & Bones and Cheney's Halliburton buddies. They could care less about the little guy.

  6. Steve Sibson11/27/2009 8:45 AM


    Thanks and yes you are right. I was referring to the leadership of the GOP. But I am also referring to the so-called "Progressives" wno control both parties. (Skull & Bones does include members of both parties) Time for us little guys to wake up and stand up for our "Natural Rights".

    Anybody for a "Tea Party"?

  7. A shy reader shares this interesting link from Forbes saying solar power may compete with grid power on price within the coming decade.


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