Chairman Bingaman, Ranking Member Murkowski, members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to submit written testimony on smart grid provisions proposed by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The GridWise Alliance has testified before this committee on several occasions and sustains a positive working relationship with both majority and minority staff by providing unbiased information about smart grid.
Now we need to turn our attention to the ultimate beneficiary of the smart grid – the consumer. The smart grid offers greater visibility into, and control over, electricity consumption, thereby enabling consumers to better manage their energy bills. To realize these benefits, however, consumers must have access to two critical suites of technologies – Home Area Networks (HAN) and smart appliances. Whereas Home Area Networks process communications between the grid and the home, smart appliances actually respond to consumer preferences and signals from the HAN or utility, system operator, aggregator, internet provider, or even microgrid. For example, consumers with variable rate plans can program smart appliances to operate when electricity prices are low, while utilities or other service providers can signal smart appliances to discretely alter operations during periods of peak demand. Smart appliances will be the next evolution of demand response.