Florida's utility customers are poised to save money thanks to a new "smart grid" that will help homeowners and businesses monitor their use of electricity daily and change their consumption habits.
Savings can be accomplished today by turning up the thermostat a couple of degrees or shutting off the water heater when not in use, among many other conservation methods. But with a smart grid, consumers can check their accounts on the Internet and see the difference in price daily based on actual consumption.
The news that Florida is getting $200 million in federal stimulus money to create a smart grid couldn't come at a better time. Florida Power & Light is looking to increase rates as a way to pay for bigger projects, like a nuclear power plant, in the future, but conservation and renewable energy sources, like solar, should be at the forefront of energy efficiency.
The federal stimulus grant, announced by President Obama as he toured a solar energy center in Arcadia Tuesday, will modernize the nation's electric grid and open the way to integrate wind and solar energy sources into the transmission system. Nationwide, the $3.4 billion in stimulus money will be matched by $4.7 billion from private investors.
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