What, you may wonder, is all this "Smart Grid" business all about? Well, it's not a set of new robotic, satellite-connected powerlines that's going to be operated by R2D2 right outside your home.
It's a system for your home that gives you control over how much energy you use -- and thus control over how much of your hard-earned paycheck you have to shell out each month to cover your energy bill.
The Idaho Statesman reports on how homeowners are getting to test out this exciting new technology, which will sooner than later be available to help YOU save energy and money:
Imagine you could log on to the Internet to find out how much power you used this week.
If you have one of Idaho Power's new smart meters, you already can.
And what if you could pay less to wash your dishes or dry your clothes by simply doing them at a different time of day?
If you live in Emmett (Idaho), you already can. The Public Utilities Commission pushed Idaho Power to install the new meters there in 2004 and since 2005 the company has offered three different rates there for different times of the day and the week to help people reduce their own bills and the utilities' demand for power at peak times.
These are the first steps Idaho Power has taken to move it toward the potential savings and efficiency offered by so-called "smart grid" technology. Thanks to a $47 million stimulus grant from the Obama administration's Department of Energy, all of Idaho Power's customers will have similar tools for reducing their power bills by 2012.
"This is giving you as a customer more control over your rate," said Theresa Drake, Idaho Power's manager for customer relations and energy efficiency.I can't wait until we have one of these in our home. PG&E, if you are listening, we volunteer to test Smart Grid technologies for you!