Energy, particularly electricity, is essential for our daily activities. Without it, you will not be able to watch your favorite shows, to cook delicious meals, to run your businesses or to manufacture goods. Thanks to the technology we have today, power companies were able to develop a system that allows both ends, the providers and the consumers, to maximize the distribution and usage of our already scarce energy sources. In this post we will talk about smart grid definitions and some of its applications.
To keep things simple, let’s talk about smart grids in two different perspectives — the providers’ and the consumers’.
The Providers’ Perspective
In the past, electric grids only serves as one-way power distribution channels where power companies supply electricity to their consumers and nothing else. Smart grid technology allows interaction between the power provider and the power consumer. Using computers and other advance metrics, smart grids can provide real-time reports regarding energy usage, demands and problems. According to smart grid definitions, system operators use this information to constantly improve and optimize their services. For example, when the demand is low, they can decrease the amount of energy supplied to the grid and increase it again when the demand goes up.
The Consumers’ Perspective
As a consumer, you might be asking yourself: “What’s in it for me?” Actually there are a lot! And there is one thing we are sure about —- money, ether in form of savings, incentives or both! Many utility companies have been offering their consumers opportunities to save and gain money based on their electricity usage. Are you aware of that? Smart grid systems allow you to take advantage of these opportunities even more!
A great example of smart grid applications are “Time-of-use Programs”. Power companies would usually encourage their consumers to use their appliances when the overall demand for electricity is low (usually in the evenings) by giving them lower energy prices. This is what you call “Time-of-use Pricing.” This strategy ensures that there is a reliable flow of electricity in the neighbourhood throughout the day (and they give you credits for participating in such programs).
“Time-of-use Programs” such as home management systems give you up to date information regarding time-of-use energy prices which enables you to plan your energy usage accordingly. Most of these applications can be accessed via a computer or mobile device. This enables you to remotely turn on (or turn off) some of your home appliances wherever you are to take advantage of low time-of-use energy rates.
Smart grid technology allows users and power providers to come up with several strategies to save money and other resources. We encourage you to consult with your local power providers and find out what “incentive-generating strategies” are available in your area — because there are lots of them! In layman’s term, smart grid definitions can be summed up this way: to provide a reliable and efficient system that creates a win-win situation for the utility company and for the community.
Learn about smart grid solutions for your business here!