GE Digital Energy Building Wireless "Smart Meter" Network For 2.4 Million Power Customers

Here comes that "smart metering" thing again. With politicians and TreeHugger publicly praising "smart meters;" and, with GE networking a huge number of them in Houston Texas, it's clear the day will soon come for retiring our 'dumb meters'.

Ready. Set. GE Digital Energy reports it is under contract with Houston Texas electric power utility CenterPoint Energy, Inc. to supply wireless communications for an Advanced Metering System (AMS) serving millions.

GE Digital Energy's MDS Mercury 3650 radios [pictured] along with engineering services, network design, project management, and support services, will support the transmission of electric utility meter data over the AMS network from consumers' homes and businesses to CenterPoint Energy's data center.
Not often that a press release serves to enlighten; but, this one from GE and CenterPoint helped me grasp what's going on with 'smart metering.'

To put those meters to work, GE is installing a wide area network.

In March 2009, CenterPoint Energy began replacing existing electric meters with smart meters. More than 145,000 smart meters will be installed across the Houston area by the end of 2009. The AMS will be deployed during the next five years to over 2.4 million consumers within a 5,000 square mile service area around metropolitan Houston.

Why should you want one?
Once the network and meters are set up and 'metering smartly,' consumers will be able to use any net-connected PC to monitor home energy usage and prices, and to control home appliances, if they so chose.

What happens to the dumb meters?
The day is coming when the last people to surrender their 'dumb meters' are going to look like second class citizens to the smarties: like the boss who refused to learn how to use a computer in the late 1980's or early 1990's.

Forget about power meter recycling; everyone will want the smart kind. Unless, maybe GE has something smart in mind to do with them?

More smart meter posts.
5.3 Million Smart Meters to be Installed by Southern California ...
Smart Power Meters and Real-Time Pricing Leads to Saved Energy and ...
Texas Utility Spends $690 Million on Smart Meters
Smart Meters Hitting Everywhere - Even In Idaho
Smart Metering - Utilities Net-Linked To Your Home Thermostat ...
Smart Meters So Hot, They Cause Fights

Tags: Texas