- See the Duke deployment map here
From a consumer's perspective, the smart meter should allow you to better monitor your usage throughout the month and perhaps make adjustments to reduce your bill. Other touted benefits include the ability to identify and target outages more quickly.
- See the Department of Energy's discussion on smart grid technology.
In a coordinated move, manufacturers are looking at the development of "programmable" appliances and equipment. Some scenarios where this could occur might be a washer and dryer that only operates when the cost of electricity is at "non-peak rates" or your thermostat automatically adjusts if rates go above a certain amount. This would require two-way communication between the utility and the home which is possible today, but will likely take a few years before it moves beyond the development and test stage.
So, bottom line? We probably won't see any immediate savings. The most likely scenario is that electricity costs will rise more slowly than in years past - perhaps running less than the overall inflation rate. Should dynamic pricing be implemented, those who are willing to modify their behavior and adapt usage to non-peak periods should be able to benefit the most.