First-quarter grades are in, and the "smart" grid has some ground to make up before getting a passing grade. The initial waves of smart meters were supposed to encourage us to not only be more efficient but also use energy when it is least expensive. Unfortunately, it looks like new "smart" meters are causing confusion combined with higher energy bills.
It's a great idea on the surface. Utilities like Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International
But the rosy picture of the future has turned into a nightmare in the short term. Many consumers are being charged more than they were under the old system even though their consumption has gone down. This has led to complaints, class action lawsuits, and now regulators slowing the smart meter rollout before issues get out of hand.
As of now it doesn't appear that it's the fault of Landis+Gyr, General Electric
In large offices and manufacturing facilities, customers can work directly with utilities or intermediaries like Comverge
The smart grid certainly isn't getting a passing grade right now, and investors have to be smarter than the current grid when making investments. GE and Siemens will continue supplying meters and related infrastructure upgrades, while new technology like grid storage opens up more possibilities. A123 Systems
These wrinkles will get ironed out eventually and the grid will get smarter. The only question is how long will it take?
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Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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