Smart Meters Go Mainstream
"[T]he power grid in the United States is in dramatic need of overhaul. But the needed improvements to load management and energy efficiency go well beyond upgrades to the network cables, transformers and power stations that make up the system's gross anatomy.
Indeed, embedded in the promise of an improved, 21st-century 'smart grid' are 'smart meters,' which are quietly gaining ground in American households as utilities replace aging meters with high-tech, networked versions.
The units provide real-time, two-way communication between customer and power company - on the theory that consumers might be more likely to, say, tolerate a bit of balminess if they are able to monitor their air conditioner's energy consumption in real time."