Refining the business case for advanced distribution investments.
When a CenterPoint Energy meter installer arrived at a customer’s home last July, he didn’t expect to have his life threatened. But that’s exactly what happened. Fifty-five year-old Thelma Taormina pulled a gun and forced the worker to abandon the service call.
CenterPoint promised legal action against Taormina. But instead of being punished, she’s achieved minor celebrity status in Texas, where she’s part of a movement to resist smart meter deployment. Local news media published a photo of Taromina looking indignant, standing next to her home’s electric meter and a sign that says “No Trespassing – No Smart Meters.”
The incident arguably marked a low point in the smart grid saga, happening in the middle of a drought for new contract awards by investor owned utilities (IOU). During the past year or so, Fortnightly has reported numerous smart grid project announcements at electric cooperatives, municipals, and other public power utilities—but very few at IOUs.
With gun-toting customers waiting in ambush, perhaps it’s no wonder. But notwithstanding the extreme responses of a few vocal opponents, the smart grid seems to have hit a dry patch in its development cycle. To learn why—and to get an idea of where we’re headed—we spoke with several experts in the field: