The Smart Grid is arriving quickly. Globally. Utilities and energy consumers will move from a flat rate model to a more flexible and detailed billing model. At a quater hourly rate utilities will be able to measure how much energy a customer consumed. Off-peak consumption will be cheaper than energy used during peak hours. There will be rewards for energy consumers who are able to shape their consumption profile.
This shift is essentially enabled by technology. Utility companies will have to invest into new billing systems as they transition their legacy system to Smart Grid technology. So far, utility companies can only handle simple flat rate tariffs which are based on meter data from manual readings. The readings occur at best monthly. Sometimes they are on a quarterly or even annual schedule. In the Smart Grid world, utilities collect automated meters readings based on quarter hourly collections createing a massive increase of data.
In addition, utilities need to offer additional capabilities to truly leverage the Smart Grid. There is the need to provide online payment options. Utilities need to provide their customers visibility into their consumption history and give them early warnings to avoid bill shock. Energy customers need analytical tools that enable them to conduct what-if scenarios on load shifting to lower their energy bills by shifting load to off-peak hours.
The future Smart Grid is enabled by smart technology.