The smart grid requires smart consumers

February 10, 2010: 10:00 AM ET

Next-gen energy distribution depends on getting users engaged and educated.

By Will West, CEO and co-founder, Control4

West: The smart grid is good for you, and a little fun, too. Photo: Control4.

The Smart Grid—the next-generation energy distribution network now being rolled out—offers something for everyone: Greater transparency and lower costs for consumers. New opportunities for technology providers, appliance and consumer electronics makers, and power utilities. A smaller carbon footprint for the planet.

But there's a catch: none of it will happen unless consumers actually embrace and use smart grid capabilities. It's the job of companies throughout the value chain to make sure that they do.

Electricity 2.0

Consumers love smart networks. Just ask any passer-by what makes the wider bandwidth mobile networks better than the first generation networks (once they put down their smartphone). They also love having choice, transparency, and control over the networks they use, from comparison-shopping for broadband to tailoring their mobile usage to different rate plans. From this perspective, both our communications networks and the people who use them are as smart as can be. More

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