Idaho Falls Power and Water is playing the role of “guinea pig” for a new “smart grid” program.
The goal of the demonstration program is to allow volunteer energy users to try out new technology that will monitor energy usage in real-time. With the option to monitor exactly what’s being used in the home, energy customers may be able to save some money.
Homeowner and mom, Megan Pugh, finds deciphering her energy bill can feel more like housework than actual housework.
“A lot of these charges [on the bill] are kind of vague and they think that it covers everything but really, we don’t know what that charge is for,” said Pugh. “They don’t make it that easy for you.”
The confusion could be a thing of the past, if the smart grid demonstration program goes as planned.
The program is part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration program — a $178 million initiative by the Department of Energy to test the new energy-monitoring technology in real-world settings.
In Idaho Falls, in-home monitors about the size of an average smartphone will be used in 1,500 test homes.
“You’re walking through the grocery store of course you also look on the shelves and get a sense of what the cost of different items are in the store and you can maybe decide… ‘I’m going to buy this one,’ or… ‘I’m not going to buy this one right now,'” said Idaho Falls Power and Water spokeswoman Jackie Flowers.
Like a trip to the supermarket, seeing prices for each appliance or power source in the house could make a big difference in energy usage.”
“Maybe I can reduce, say, using the dryer, and use the clothes line or reduce watering the lawn so much if that’s where the energy costs are killing us,” said Pugh.
Idaho Falls Power only has a third of the volunteers it needs to test the smart grid technology. If you would like to try it in your home, you can call 612-8526 or click here.