Question #2

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Q&A

What is the smart grid?

The smart grid is the evolution of our current electrical grid, using new technology to optimize the conservation and delivery of power. All told, the smart grid promises to increase the efficiency of today’s system by around 9% by 2030, saving more than 400 billion kilowatt-hours each year. That’s huge. That means we could save $42 billion in year 1 and as we keep saving energy, its value each year only increases.

The "grid" refers to our nation's electric power infrastructure. Smart grid is the application of information technology, tools and techniques that can make the grid run more efficiently. The current electric grid is highly inefficient and very much in need of modernization.

What makes a smart grid different than today’s grid?

Our electric system is more than 100 years old and although it has served us well, it needs upgrading. The energy industry is poised for a dramatic change. In the face of expanding customer expectations, increasing environmental regulation, and new technology, the traditional approach of building new power plants to meet energy demand can no longer be the only option. We must find ways to improve our service and meet our customers’ energy needs in a smart, lower-carbon way. Renewable generation and energy efficiency must, and will, play a larger role.

And consumers want more information and control, too; they want reliable and affordable energy that’s clean, and this requires a unique balancing act. By deploying digital energy technologies and modernizing our power grid, we can bring the grid into the 21st century, empower consumers to make wiser energy decisions, and help create a cleaner, lower-carbon and more energy-efficient world.

Will the communications system interfere with equipment in my home or business?

Smart meters run on two frequencies. The frequency communicating to the electric meter is 900 MHz (megahertz). If the premise also has a gas meter, the frequency from the electric meter to the gas meter is 2.4 GHz (gigahertz).

The electric meter frequency is similar to a cell phone and the gas meter frequency is similar to a computer router. Neither device will interfere with any wireless devices in the home and it is highly unlikely that the relatively weak fields produced the meter would interfere with the operation of a medical device.

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