Xcel Energy issued a press statement this week saying that its pioneering smart grid experiment in Boulder, Colorado, is now complete--that SmartGridCity is the "first fully functioning smart city in the world." What that turns out to mean is that the aspects of the experiment bearing on electric reliability and more effective and economical maintenance are up and running: fully automated substations, the ability to re-route power around overloaded or blocked lines, fast detection of localized outages, and early detection of blackout risks. What it does not mean is that customers can now closely monitor home or business usage, find ways to use electricity more frugally, and seek greener sources of power. That will happen only in the fourth quarter of this year, when "Xcel Energy plans to launch an in-home energy management Web portal provided by GridPoint that will give all Boulder customers with a smart meter the ability to review their in-home energy usage."
Xcel "will soon be seeking customers for testing of in-home energy management devices," the press release continues. So don't bother staying tuned. Rather, tune back in, say, six months from now.