An article written by Brattle principal Peter Fox-Penner on recent developments in the smart grid industry was featured in the August 2011 issue of the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter.
Dr. Fox-Penner’s article, “Surprising Deployment Developments,” discusses two striking developments in the smart grid industry. First, Dr. Fox-Penner points out the surprising trend that rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities have been the frontrunners of smart grid technology, rather than large-scale public utility companies. Cooperatives lead smart meter deployment with 25 percent penetration of customers’ homes, which is three times higher than the average across all utilities.
Dr. Fox-Penner also explains that despite the overwhelming benefits of dynamic pricing and smart meter technology for both consumers and utilities, use of dynamic pricing across the United States has been flat or declining, rather than growing. Presently, there are 72 fewer utility companies offering time of use rates programs than there were in 2008. On the other hand, simpler types of dynamic pricing techniques continue to grow. Direct load control, which remotely controls appliances to balance load, continues to be the most popular demand response program.