Consumer needs must be considered in smart grid


Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — December 17, 2009 – Consumer needs must be properly considered in the development of smart grid initiatives, or else the vision of the smart grid is at risk, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

In a new smart grid White Paper the Association says it fully supports the U.S. smart grid vision that consumers should receive valuable and understandable information about their energy use and costs, thus enabling them to make intelligent and informed choices about how and when to use energy.

However in order for the smart grid vision to be successful there are three essential requirements for the smart grid’s interaction with consumers. These are that pricing must provide incentives to manage energy use more efficiently and enable consumers to save money, communication standards must be open, flexible, secure, and limited in number, and consumer choice and privacy must be respected as the consumer is the decision maker.

These requirements must be addressed by several entities involved with development of smart grid architecture and standards, as no one company, association or government agency can accomplish this alone, the Association says. Further the Association suggests a cooperative effort among appliance and other product manufacturers, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, states, energy regulatory agencies, utilities, and smart meter manufacturers.

Suggested areas of cooperation include the development of uniform pricing and usage information standards that provide for a harmonized way of communicating local rate and timing information, and a rapid drive towards open standards, with specific attention to the interface between the smart grid and the consumer. Smart meter or other pilot projects that include open standards and architectures that are expandable in the future must be pursued, and funding should be allocated for research, development, and demonstration of concepts that achieve the smart grid vision.

The Association further recommends these cooperative efforts include the manufacturers of all residential devices such as manufacturers of home appliances, consumer electronics, HVAC equipment, thermostats, lighting, communications, networking, residential generators, and electric vehicles to ensure that the smart grid vision, as it applies to residential consumers, will become a reality.

The AHAM represents manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances, and suppliers to the industry, and its membership includes over 150 companies throughout the world.

To read the AHAM’s Smart Grid White Paper “The Home Appliance Industry’s Principles & Requirements for Achieving a Widely Accepted Smart Grid” click here.