When it comes to energy efficiency, public utilities want the same thing as consumers and businesses –- more.
Datamation reports on the latest effort by IBM and eMeter that’s designed to let mid-sized electric, gas and water utilities use a a smart grid to manage power.
IBM has teamed with eMeter to provide ready-made systems for public utilities to implement an IBM-managed smart grid to help improve their power usage and efficiency. The program is specifically targeted at mid-sized electric, gas and water utilities as part of IBM’s smarter-planet strategy.
A smart grid uses two-way digital technology to deliver electricity to customers’ homes and to control appliances to increase energy efficiency and reduce power use. A smart grid includes an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electricity flowing in the system, new power lines to reduce the power lost during transmission and the ability to integrate alternative sources of electricity such as solar and wind.
By using a smart grid, power might be turned on to an appliance at a certain hour. For example, power to a dish washer or washing machine would come on during off-peak hours.
The U.S. federal government has allocated $4.3 billion for public utilities and other firms to build out smart grid programs, but many smaller utilities don’t know how to begin building such a grid. That’s where IBM (NYSE: IBM) and eMeter’s turnkey system comes in.