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I'm in Eastwood, and this morning we found a hang tag on the door that we are getting the new CenterPoint smart meters soon! Looks like some time in August they will replace ours. The website has a deplyment schedule, and it looks pretty evenly spread across the city.

Pretty exciting, I think. Anyone else receive one?

http://centerpointenergy.com/energyinsight

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Are you excited about the fee they are going to start charging you for that meter? I wouldn't be surprised if that fee remains on the bill well past the time it would have been paid off.

Google makes them and an internet connection is built in to the thing so that your utility company can eventually start selling you internet service (or just upgrade big brother)

Edited by rbarz
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I'm in Eastwood, and this morning we found a hang tag on the door that we are getting the new CenterPoint smart meters soon! Looks like some time in August they will replace ours. The website has a deplyment schedule, and it looks pretty evenly spread across the city.

Pretty exciting, I think. Anyone else receive one?

http://centerpointenergy.com/energyinsight

The hang tag was on my gate in Broadmoor several days ago. In late 2008 ago I had CenterPoint install a new meter that can be read at a distance with a hand-held device since mine is located behind a locked gate. I wonder if it has the same electronic guts as the "smart meter" and just needs to be activated? What happens if I'm not home on the day they come on my street with the new meters...I sure don't want the guy to climb the fence!

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The hang tag was on my gate in Broadmoor several days ago. In late 2008 ago I had CenterPoint install a new meter that can be read at a distance with a hand-held device since mine is located behind a locked gate. I wonder if it has the same electronic guts as the "smart meter" and just needs to be activated? What happens if I'm not home on the day they come on my street with the new meters...I sure don't want the guy to climb the fence!

They won't jump any fences. In fact, we leave our gate open on the day they read the meter, and usually they don't even bother to check that it is open. We just get a letter every 6 months saying we're on the program to read the meter ourselves, and we send the cards in. And of course they offer us the option to spend lots of money on a fancy meter.

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They won't jump any fences. In fact, we leave our gate open on the day they read the meter, and usually they don't even bother to check that it is open. We just get a letter every 6 months saying we're on the program to read the meter ourselves, and we send the cards in. And of course they offer us the option to spend lots of money on a fancy meter.

My previous reader jumped fences. He was good. Knew how to back down a barking dog as well. Unfortunately, the new guy is kinda wimpy. I have to explain the tricks of the trade to him all of the time, and yet he STILL bangs on my door to read the meter. All he has to do is stand on the bottom rung of the fence to see the meter 8 feet away (they have a scope for reading at distance), but instead, he wants me to put up the dogs and open the gate.

I am about to move my power line underground. Hopefully, I'll get a new meter out of the deal.

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Google makes them and an internet connection is built in to the thing so that your utility company can eventually start selling you internet service (or just upgrade big brother)

Google makes what? The meters? Really? Cite your source.

The more competition for AT&T and Comcrap, the better.

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They can't get to my house fast enough. I don't understand how they can go around to so many houses every day and yet still not know that they need to CLOSE THE GATE after they open it. Every month the gate is left open. The sooner they stop coming through the gate, the sooner I can stop worrying about my dog running off. But we aren't on the schedule till sometime in 2010.

And I am really looking forward to the additional data that we'll be able to get - as to WHEN we use the most energy (hours) or what days.

I'd actually appreciate a more precise water bill too. But that's a different topic.

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They can't get to my house fast enough. I don't understand how they can go around to so many houses every day and yet still not know that they need to CLOSE THE GATE after they open it. Every month the gate is left open. The sooner they stop coming through the gate, the sooner I can stop worrying about my dog running off. But we aren't on the schedule till sometime in 2010.

Put a lock on the gate. If they can't be bothered to close it after they read the meter, they can either jump the fence or estimate the read. Or you can sign up to read your own meter until they get around to installing the smart meters in your area.

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Are you excited about the fee they are going to start charging you for that meter? I wouldn't be surprised if that fee remains on the bill well past the time it would have been paid off.

Google makes them and an internet connection is built in to the thing so that your utility company can eventually start selling you internet service (or just upgrade big brother)

No, Google does not make them. They are made by a company named 'eMeter'. (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/17620)

You are charged each month for 12 years. I don't know how much they cost, but they keep repeating, if one were to ask them, "the cost includes the cost of the supporting infrastructure."

Edit: yeah, I have one. Looks cool. Guess I'll get all that HAN stuff when zWave gets cheap enough, and then I can, uh, um. Is DEIS the web-front to look at your energy usage? I'll check it when I get home later.

Edited by drone
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Update: yes, if you have a smart meter you can use DEIS to see your usage. Mind you, it's about as interesting as watching paint dry, and the options as to what to display and how are pretty limited. (In fact, the same information is on my bill from the REP, but DEIS makes it slightly more granular - two week periods instead of 1 month periods.)

Here's the URL: https://deis.centerpointenergy.com/index.asp?pageid=424

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No, Google does not make them. They are made by a company named 'eMeter'. (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/17620)

You are charged each month for 12 years. I don't know how much they cost, but they keep repeating, if one were to ask them, "the cost includes the cost of the supporting infrastructure."

Edit: yeah, I have one. Looks cool. Guess I'll get all that HAN stuff when zWave gets cheap enough, and then I can, uh, um. Is DEIS the web-front to look at your energy usage? I'll check it when I get home later.

Both Google and Microsoft make them too. Google calls theirs the Powermeter and Microsoft's is called the Hohm. But, the ones going up in Houston are by eMeter.

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Both Google and Microsoft make them too. Google calls theirs the Powermeter and Microsoft's is called the Hohm. But, the ones going up in Houston are by eMeter.

Google and Microsoft do not make the meters. they make the web-enabled software that lets you interact with your smart meter. Mainly it lets you see how much power you are using at certain points of the day... but in the future it will allow you to postpone electricity usage (think plug-in hybrid) to non-peak (thus lower cost) times of day.

Your electricity rates will actually vary during the day depending on demand... thus the web-enabled software will allow you to make smart decisions based on certain devices that do not need to run immediately.

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Google and Microsoft do not make the meters. they make the web-enabled software that lets you interact with your smart meter. Mainly it lets you see how much power you are using at certain points of the day... but in the future it will allow you to postpone electricity usage (think plug-in hybrid) to non-peak (thus lower cost) times of day.

Your electricity rates will actually vary during the day depending on demand... thus the web-enabled software will allow you to make smart decisions based on certain devices that do not need to run immediately.

Also in the future it will allow the government to control your usage and turn off your power, your ac, etc - once you use your quota of electricity, unless your a congressman, you get to sweat - I wont be allowing anyone to change my meter out to a smart meter if I have any say over it all. You can buy a device that will monitor your usage and have it installed if you really want to to know what is going on with your meter.

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Also in the future it will allow the government to control your usage and turn off your power, your ac, etc - once you use your quota of electricity, unless your a congressman, you get to sweat - I wont be allowing anyone to change my meter out to a smart meter if I have any say over it all. You can buy a device that will monitor your usage and have it installed if you really want to to know what is going on with your meter.

You don't have any say over it. Center Point owns the meters, the lines, and the rest of the infrastructure. They get to pick what meter you use, you just get to pay for it. Don't like thier meter, too bad, you can do without power.

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Does anyone know how they go about changing out the meter? We were leaving our driveway gate open during the day to allow them easier access. However, when it is open, the gate blocks the breaker box (though not the meter, which is above it). I am not sure how they actually shut off the power to work on the meter and want to make it as easy as possible for them.

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Does anyone know how they go about changing out the meter? We were leaving our driveway gate open during the day to allow them easier access. However, when it is open, the gate blocks the breaker box (though not the meter, which is above it). I am not sure how they actually shut off the power to work on the meter and want to make it as easy as possible for them.

The meter sits in a socket, it is plug and play. They just cut the seal, pop the lock-ring off, pull the old meter out of the socket (cutting power to your house), pop the new one into the socket and put the lockring & a new seal back on.

Edited by jm1fd
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What?! Where on earth did you hear this? Do you mean city, county, state or federal government?

My brother in law works for centerpoint - they are already offering incentives to people who are willing to let centerpoint turn your power off when the grid is stressed out, they call it load shedding or something like that....they give you something like a 10% discount on your total bill every month in exchange for the right to cut your power something like 4x per year without notice, but for no longer than 4 hour intervals.

Its currently optional - but as goes everything the government gets their hands on, whats optional now will become mandatory later. Eventually there will be no option....when the power gets scarce b/c the do gooder environmentalist wont let us build more power plants, they will start to cycle everyones power instead of having rolling blackouts, and this is the first step in being able to do so...it will be homeowners who lose power b/c business is too busy generating tax dollars.

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My brother in law works for centerpoint - they are already offering incentives to people who are willing to let centerpoint turn your power off when the grid is stressed out, they call it load shedding or something like that....they give you something like a 10% discount on your total bill every month in exchange for the right to cut your power something like 4x per year without notice, but for no longer than 4 hour intervals.

Its currently optional - but as goes everything the government gets their hands on, whats optional now will become mandatory later. Eventually there will be no option....when the power gets scarce b/c the do gooder environmentalist wont let us build more power plants, they will start to cycle everyones power instead of having rolling blackouts, and this is the first step in being able to do so...it will be homeowners who lose power b/c business is too busy generating tax dollars.

I don't share your same level of paranoia, but let me put a silver lining on your worries... with smart meters, instead of just on or off, utilities would be able to limit usage and set thresholds for different times of day if your doomsday scenario were to play out.

So instead of rolling blackouts, houses would instead be limited to a certain amount of power. Not exactly a bad compromise. Raising the AC by 1 degree might just be enough to stay within the quota and nobody would have to be without power that day.

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I don't share your same level of paranoia, but let me put a silver lining on your worries... with smart meters, instead of just on or off, utilities would be able to limit usage and set thresholds for different times of day if your doomsday scenario were to play out.

So instead of rolling blackouts, houses would instead be limited to a certain amount of power. Not exactly a bad compromise. Raising the AC by 1 degree might just be enough to stay within the quota and nobody would have to be without power that day.

I fear all power given to the government now a days...it does not seem that they pay any attention to the things that matter and pay all the attention to the things that dont. Its a good thing we have hearings over steroids in baseball while the economy is teetering, etc...They dont listen to the people anymore they tell us what they want us to believe, and then talk down to us, while they exempt themselves from their own rules.

I for one dont want to have to ration my electricity usage - I dont want to ration my health care, I dont want to ration anything I dont want to...this is the USA not some third world country - build the power plant, upgrade the grid, and if you want to opt out of more regulation you should be able to do so.

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They dont listen to the people anymore they tell us what they want us to believe, and then talk down to us, while they exempt themselves from their own rules.

And how is this different from the past?

I for one dont want to have to ration my electricity usage - I dont want to ration my health care, I dont want to ration anything I dont want to...this is the USA not some third world country - build the power plant, upgrade the grid, and if you want to opt out of more regulation you should be able to do so.

I don't share your sense of paranoia. I would, however, love to reduce my dependence on power grid. Maybe even sever it. You'll probably roll your eyes at technologies like solar panels as being for hippies, but I find the idea of free power very intriguing. Sunny summer days in Houston would probably even feed back into the system and reverse your meter. I'm just waiting for the technology to improve and for the costs to bottom out before making the investment.

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You beat me to it, I was going to tell him to install solar panels and a wind turbine to free himself of the shackles of big brother...

I actually recently purchased 3 50W solar panels... not a huge investment... with the inverter, charger, and battery pack, I probably invested a little over $1,000.00.

When the next multi-day power outage occurs, I still wont have A/C, but Ill have refrigeration, fans, lights, tv, and possibly internet. And I won't have to wait in line for hours to get gas for the generator.

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And how is this different from the past?

I don't share your sense of paranoia. I would, however, love to reduce my dependence on power grid. Maybe even sever it. You'll probably roll your eyes at technologies like solar panels as being for hippies, but I find the idea of free power very intriguing. Sunny summer days in Houston would probably even feed back into the system and reverse your meter. I'm just waiting for the technology to improve and for the costs to bottom out before making the investment.

I would love to free myself from the need to buy anything from anyone that the government can regulate, but at this point solar power is still too expensive for what you get. I use solar power where it makes sense...we have solar powered water wells out our place in the country - but the power gained for the cost involved is too high when you can just plug into the grid.

When a true alternative energy source is available, and its affordable I will be among the first to make the investment to get out from under big brother. If you dont see the potential for abuse here, your not looking very hard.

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I would love to free myself from the need to buy anything from anyone that the government can regulate, but at this point solar power is still too expensive for what you get. I use solar power where it makes sense...we have solar powered water wells out our place in the country - but the power gained for the cost involved is too high when you can just plug into the grid.

When a true alternative energy source is available, and its affordable I will be among the first to make the investment to get out from under big brother.

Solar is a true alternative energy source. There are solar power plants and there are homesteads using only solar right now. The problem is cost, like you mention, especially if you want to become completely independent, which means installing racks of batteries. So I think you mean, when a cost-effective energy source is available.

If you dont see the potential for abuse here, your not looking very hard.

There is the potential for abuse in so many parts of our lives. But I feel you're getting paranoid about a problem that doesn't even exist considering you have to opt for the blackout service. My power has been incredibly reliable outside of major weather disruptions like Hurricane Ike. I don't see that changing, and I don't see Centerpoint nor my electricity provider wanting to disrupt their steady stream of income.

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LOL. I think there's a miscalculation in power draw.

No miscalc, just conservation in an emergency...

A medium sized fridge running in what I call "emergency" mode can keep food safe and drinks cold consumes roughly 18AH/Day.

A 19" CRT TV and HD converter box consumes about 55W, or 0.5A/Hour... if you run the TV for 4 hours a day, you consume 2AH.

A compact florescent consumes about 15W, two lamps would consume about .25A/Hour. If you run these for 4 hours a day, you consume 1AH.

Add in a fan or two, another 0.5A/hour, running a full 24 hours, consumes 12AH/Day.

All totaled, that brings you to around 33AH/day... factor in the loss factor of the AC/DC conversion, and you really consume about 41AH/Day of DC power.

3 2.8A 50W solar panels, charging for 5 hours per day (peak sun), produce 42AH per day of power. Enough to sustain you until power comes back on.

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Solar is a true alternative energy source. There are solar power plants and there are homesteads using only solar right now. The problem is cost, like you mention, especially if you want to become completely independent, which means installing racks of batteries. So I think you mean, when a cost-effective energy source is available.

There is the potential for abuse in so many parts of our lives. But I feel you're getting paranoid about a problem that doesn't even exist considering you have to opt for the blackout service. My power has been incredibly reliable outside of major weather disruptions like Hurricane Ike. I don't see that changing, and I don't see Centerpoint nor my electricity provider wanting to disrupt their steady stream of income.

Your account is nothing to them...they will turn you off in favor of some big manufacturing plant which is using in 5 minutes what you use in a year. Its not effecting their income at all, they are merely providing it to those who use the most of it. Its supply and demand, your demand is less, and therefore you mean less on their totem pole. You get turned off, whether you want to or not, so that the plant can stay on.

Your electricity provider may not like it, but they have no say in the matter - only centerpoint. And you are right, the problem does not exist YET - but it is going to exist. The biggest reason given for centerpoint going to these smart meters was so that they could start charging people on shorter power intervals. Business have the ability to be billed on MCPE (market clearing price index) which until smart meters go in, bills usage on 15 minute intervals...power at night and morning costs much less than power in the heat of the day.

Centerpoint wants these new meters up so they can start forcing you to turn up your AC or other things that consumer power in the middle of the day by charging you much much more for that power than you would pay for it at night when you are supposed to be home. Its their way of making more money by providing the same service...they can increase the cost of the power in the middle of the day when they need it more...it will take people time to adjust to it, and some may like it alot more, but those who stay at home and dont want to be hot all day long will end up paying much much more as the spot price during high consumption can skyrocket from 10-15c per kwh to up to $1.00 - which adds up quick.

Centerpoint does not do anything they think wont make them money - these meters are designed to increase their revenue, and at the same time decrease their personnel.

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Centerpoint wants these new meters up so they can start forcing you to turn up your AC or other things that consumer power in the middle of the day by charging you much much more for that power than you would pay for it at night when you are supposed to be home. Its their way of making more money by providing the same service...they can increase the cost of the power in the middle of the day when they need it more...it will take people time to adjust to it, and some may like it alot more, but those who stay at home and dont want to be hot all day long will end up paying much much more as the spot price during high consumption can skyrocket from 10-15c per kwh to up to $1.00 - which adds up quick.

That part does concern me since I frequently work from home.

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I don't share your same level of paranoia, but let me put a silver lining on your worries... with smart meters, instead of just on or off, utilities would be able to limit usage and set thresholds for different times of day if your doomsday scenario were to play out.

So instead of rolling blackouts, houses would instead be limited to a certain amount of power. Not exactly a bad compromise. Raising the AC by 1 degree might just be enough to stay within the quota and nobody would have to be without power that day.

Or even better, if variable rate billing is implemented, people can adjust their useage to a non-peak time to get a cheaper rate and therefore put less load on the system and avoid blackouts completely. If, say, my kWhr rate dropped after 10 pm, them I'm going to wait until then to run my dryer or my dishwasher, for example.

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First of all, Centerpoint isn't "the government", so don't let paranoia get the better of you. Second, CDeb is absolutely correct. Part of the whole reason for smart meters is so that people can understand the market price of power and adjust their usage accordingly. The idea isn't to coerce, it is to provide market incentives to use electricity optimally. They will charge more in the middle of the day because the market price of power is higher in the middle of the day. The market doesn't benefit by subsidizing customers to burn power during peak periods.

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First of all, Centerpoint isn't "the government", so don't let paranoia get the better of you. Second, CDeb is absolutely correct. Part of the whole reason for smart meters is so that people can understand the market price of power and adjust their usage accordingly. The idea isn't to coerce, it is to provide market incentives to use electricity optimally. They will charge more in the middle of the day because the market price of power is higher in the middle of the day. The market doesn't benefit by subsidizing customers to burn power during peak periods.

Thank you for bringing basic economics back into the discussion. I like the idea of smart meters a lot. My only gripe is that I suspect we could be paying that upcharge for the hardware long after Centerpoint recoups the price.

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Thank you for bringing basic economics back into the discussion. I like the idea of smart meters a lot. My only gripe is that I suspect we could be paying that upcharge for the hardware long after Centerpoint recoups the price.

I am all for free market - I dont even mind the part about Centerpoint being able to monitor my usage on shorter intervals...and you are correct people will adjust their habits to use power when it is cheaper...its not that part of it that bothers me...I do not care about being monitored and charged for what I use on a volatile pricing schedule....what I am against is the ability of Centerpoint to talk to my meter, and to shed or limit loads to my house...Im free market all the way but with acceptable limits. When the grid is heavily stressed $1/kwh is VERY expensive....We dont get warnings when its costing alot to do something...its not like other technologies. Right now if your running your AC and your electric dryer and blow drying your hair, all the same time, not a huge deal, but at $1kwh that could be upwards of $50/hr on peak usage and people dont know it.

If they are going to do it, there needs to be limits until people adjust to the outrageous new cost of peak usage. Because in comparison to what they have been paying, thats exactly what it is, its an outrageous new fee.

Also, I too believe the "fee" for the meter they are installing on my house, without asking if I want it or not is bogus...its going to be like the toll roads, even once its payed for 10x over they will keep charging it. Its just another tax...They just happen to have a total monopoly on the line industry so its take it or leave it. What other industry can you pass the charge of a product that makes your business easier, more efficient, and cheaper for you, onto the customer? None - the true free market wont pay for you to upgrade your system. They get almost all of the advantage to this system AND they get to pass the cost onto us! Brilliant!

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I am all for free market - I dont even mind the part about Centerpoint being able to monitor my usage on shorter intervals...and you are correct people will adjust their habits to use power when it is cheaper...its not that part of it that bothers me...I do not care about being monitored and charged for what I use on a volatile pricing schedule....what I am against is the ability of Centerpoint to talk to my meter, and to shed or limit loads to my house...Im free market all the way but with acceptable limits. When the grid is heavily stressed $1/kwh is VERY expensive....We dont get warnings when its costing alot to do something...its not like other technologies. Right now if your running your AC and your electric dryer and blow drying your hair, all the same time, not a huge deal, but at $1kwh that could be upwards of $50/hr on peak usage and people dont know it.

If they are going to do it, there needs to be limits until people adjust to the outrageous new cost of peak usage. Because in comparison to what they have been paying, thats exactly what it is, its an outrageous new fee.

Also, I too believe the "fee" for the meter they are installing on my house, without asking if I want it or not is bogus...its going to be like the toll roads, even once its payed for 10x over they will keep charging it. Its just another tax...They just happen to have a total monopoly on the line industry so its take it or leave it. What other industry can you pass the charge of a product that makes your business easier, more efficient, and cheaper for you, onto the customer? None - the true free market wont pay for you to upgrade your system. They get almost all of the advantage to this system AND they get to pass the cost onto us! Brilliant!

If companies are offering $0.10/kwh today for 2 years... I can venture a guess that even at peak demands, the equilibrium price is nowhere close to $1/kwh. We still will be able to choose our electricity providers... we will still have contracts that have terms and conditions.

Im sure there will be a peak and off-peak price built into the contract. The only difference is the smart meter will allow you the homeowner to decide when they want to use their power... during peak times or during non-peak times.

Nobody will be shocked to find out they paid an outrageous price/kwh after the fact.

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If companies are offering $0.10/kwh today for 2 years... I can venture a guess that even at peak demands, the equilibrium price is nowhere close to $1/kwh. We still will be able to choose our electricity providers... we will still have contracts that have terms and conditions.

Im sure there will be a peak and off-peak price built into the contract. The only difference is the smart meter will allow you the homeowner to decide when they want to use their power... during peak times or during non-peak times.

Nobody will be shocked to find out they paid an outrageous price/kwh after the fact.

This may come as a surprise to you then, but businesses who operate on the MCPE pricing schedule saw that $1.00/kwh happen not once, not twice, but three different times in Houston already this year. It happens...as it stands now homeowners are immune from that type of pricing, but businesses who have been operating on the future price schedule have been dealing with this type of pricing scheme (if they choose to) for several years....My company was on MCPE 3 years ago, got off for a year, back on, and then off again this past year.

But $1.00/kwh is not a pipe dream, its already happened.

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I kind of share the paranoia that the power to manipulate customers' electricity usage is a scary one to give to the utility, but at the same time, if people start seeing just how much their electricity usage actually costs during high load periods, then it's a good thing, if only to spur the construction of newer and cheaper power sources like clean coal and nukes.

Not a big deal in Texas, really, but I used to trade electricity in California and the NIMBY consumers out there need to be educated (the hard way) that demand cannot grow unrestricted while keeping supply constant and prices low.

And FWIW - Centerpoint's income is (mostly) non-dependent on how much electricity you use. They don't necessarily benefit financially from more granular bills, although it certainly will help with the condition and maintenance of their grid system in high load circumstances.

Edited by cottonmather0
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I fear all power given to the government now a days...it does not seem that they pay any attention to the things that matter and pay all the attention to the things that dont. Its a good thing we have hearings over steroids in baseball while the economy is teetering, etc...They dont listen to the people anymore they tell us what they want us to believe, and then talk down to us, while they exempt themselves from their own rules.

I for one dont want to have to ration my electricity usage - I dont want to ration my health care, I dont want to ration anything I dont want to...this is the USA not some third world country - build the power plant, upgrade the grid, and if you want to opt out of more regulation you should be able to do so.

Who said electricity was going to be rationed?

And how does a "smart meter" installed by Center Point equate to the government monitoring each individual's electricity use?

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The CenterPoint smart meters are Itron OpenWay meters. They will record 15-minute interval usage and demand data. If you're curious, the LCD on the meter displays your peak demand in kVA (which your old residential meter didn't record). There are numerous benefits to these meters, not just CenterPoint not having to send out human meter readers. Unfortunately, most people have no concept of how electricity is generated and distributed and a lot of the replies in this thread demonstrate that.

Potentially the biggest benefit of smart meters is the ability for residences to realize the cost-benefit trade-off of using electricity during peak usage periods. Currently, you pay the same rate each month regardless of when during the month you use power. Once smart meters are widely deployed and suppliers start offering time-of-use rate plans, you can potentially save yourself a lot of money by shifting non-critical usage to off-peak times.

Why does this matter? The electric grid has to have generation capacity (including typically about 20% additional reserves) to meet the peak demand at any given time. All electricity is generated in real-time as it is needed (there are no giant batteries anywhere). Annual peak demand occurs during the afternoon of the hottest day of the year. During the rest of year, there's a lot of unneeded generation capacity going unused. If total demand on the grid keeps increasing (it does every year) then we continue to need additional generation capacity to meet peak demand which only occurs for a small fraction of the year. If we are aware (through time-of-use electric rates) when it is most expensive, we can shift our usage (e.g., running a dish or clothes washer) to a different time, not only saving ourselves money but reducing the need for additional generation capacity which means overall electricity rates stay down (you're going to pay, indirectly, for someone to build that new power plant).

In addition, smart meters will allow things like same-day electric supplier switching because the meter read can be done instantly and remotely. Also, they eliminate the need for estimated readings because the meter can always be read at its scheduled time. If your electric rate varies each month then you could get screwed by an estimated reading if it's inaccurate. Another benefit is that CenterPoint will know immediately and precisely when customers lose service through automatic outage reporting (the meters can still communicate for a period of time after losing power).

Yet another benefit is that the meters support Zigbee, which is a standard for wireless home automation integration. Eventually, you will be able to integrate appliances and your thermostat with your meter. So for example, you could tell the air conditioning to cut-off if the real-time electricity price exceeds some threshold.

There's nothing to be paranoid about. There is no CenterPoint conspiracy to screw you. Smart meters are being installed across the country. Texas happens to be slightly ahead of the curve in this area though.

Edited by bulldog
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  • 1 month later...

Looks like the program to bring "smart meters" to Houston won't take as long as previously planned now that CenterPoint received a bunch of stimulus money:

Stimulus powers up 'smart grid' from today's Houston Chronicle

"The funds will cut two years off CenterPoint's 5-year, $976 million rollout of the smart meters, said CenterPoint spokeswoman Leticia Lowe, and reduce the total amount assessed customers through their monthly electric bills to pay for the upgrade. Since early this year, customers have paid an extra $3.24 monthly charge. After two years, the payment will drop to $3.05 but will continue for several more years.

The funds will also go toward the installation of equipment to help automate the rerouting of power throughout the area's electricity distribution system during outages."

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Have we heard anything on where they are starting with this or where they are currently working? This works with the google tracking software correct?

i have had mine since August, but haven't taken the time to get to know it. In some ways, I don't like it as much since it is more complex (rotating digital display, instead of the constant(ly turning) dial. I wish CenterPoint would send out a how-to-read guide, especially since I hit some sort of reset button and now I get a flashing 0000 part of the time. Apparently that doesn't stop the billing, though. wink.gif

eta: nevermind, here is the guide

http://www.centerpointenergy.com/staticfiles/CNP/Common/SiteAssets/doc/How%20to%20Read%20Your%20Smart%20Meter%200060209.pdf

Edited by travelguy_73
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I live a Condo off of Weslayan and 59 and we got the notice yesterday via a door hanger. The deployment schedule says that we should get them installed in December. I for one am excited because I think near real-time tracking of energy usage is the best way to get a handle on my electric bills. I got flammed on this board a couple of years ago for even suggesting such a radical notion.

It just makes sense to me. It doesn no good to get this info 30 days after the fact. I do this with my cell phone. I monitor how many mins I use several times a week. If I'm about to go over my mins, I curtail my usage.

http://www.centerpointenergy.com/services/electricity/residential/smartmeters/deployment/

I'd be curious to hear from anyone who already has had a smart meter installed and how they are using it to monitor their electricty usage.

Edited by jb4647
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I'd be curious to hear from anyone who already has had a smart meter installed and how they are using it to monitor their electricty usage.

We haven't used it at all yet. I'm not sure that any of the energy marketers have integrated the smart meters into their websites, so I'm not sure how easy it is to follow usage just yet. Hope I am proven wrong, though!

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