I was surprised to find that it took Google to develop a method of actually allowing the consumer to see their electicity use and payment in real time. Naively I had assumed that this is what smart metering is about when I first heard the term.
However it is not clear if they intend to fulfil the second part of my very own 'Smart Metering Vision' by providing the means for consumers to set appliances to automatically turn off (and alert the owner) when electricity rates, changing in real time, reach a 'cutoff point'.
Surely, this is the only way to allow a free market for electricity to exist. The user decides in advance how much they are willing to pay, and it is up to the utilities to try and provide sufficient power to maximise their profits in a competitive environment. To me it seems a much better solution than brownout inducing price caps, or having the utility arbitrarily switch off your heater/aircon/dryer.
I have some more thoughts on electricity metering and how to integrate with a pricing structure that promotes clean energy without selective subsidies or high prices across the board. But they will have to wait until another day, maybe tomorrow. ;-)