1/31/2012 11:32 AM
On September 15, 2011, US Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra presented a challenge to smart grid vendors and utility companies to make energy use data available to individuals at the touch of a “green button.”
Just four months later, Chopra and two large California utility companies announced that the green button is now available for six million customers in California who have electric smart meters. Other large utility companies are expected to follow their lead in the coming months. To view a sample of the data provided, visit GreenButtonData and click on the button next to “View My Data.” The expectation is that the data will help utility customers become energy conscious and see the results of energy-saving improvements.
The two California utility companies, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and San Diego Gas and Electric Company, worked together to develop a standard for delivering the data that allows software developers to create useful applications for smart phones and tablet devices. Some of the early application efforts are described in this article from GreenTechGrid. Being from Colorado ourselves, we are especially excited about the new products and services from Tendril.
But not everyone is pleased with the green button or with the smart meters that are required to capture and transmit the data. Some California residents are concerned that green button data is an invasion of their privacy and smart meters are a risk to their health.
Utility companies claim that the radiofrequency energy emitted from smart meters is one-thousandth that of a cell phone, and there is no scientific evidence to prove that it is dangerous. While the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society agree that there is no evidence yet that cell phones are dangerous, they state that more research is needed before it is determined that devices that emit radiofrequency energy are completely safe.
For an explanation of the health and privacy concerns related to smart meters, watch The Dark Side of Smart Meters, a talk presented to the San Francisco Tesla Society by consulting engineer Rob States.
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