- Smarter electric grid could be key to saving power - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News


These little tweaks add up nicely for another person testing the Milton system, Marian Rakusan. He's saved at least $300 on utility bills since the program began in September. Tsapoitis and his wife, Lisa, aren't certain of their savings but say their 2,400-square-foot home has lower energy bills than a friend's 1,800-square-footer.

This alone is not revolutionary, because programmable thermostats and other "smart home" controls let people craft similar resource-saving plans. The big change here is the combination of these controls with that blinking amber light on the switch _ where the grid talks back.

Milton's local gas and electricity retailer, Direct Energy, will set those amber dots blinking in an emergency. It might happen a few times in a summer month. Maybe there will be congestion in Ontario's overtaxed transmission network. Perhaps a power plant will be down for maintenance. Or rapacious air conditioners will overwhelm electric capacity.

Whatever the cause, at that moment, this section of the grid needs a reduction in demand, fast, or else outages loom."

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