Many families are investigating ways to reduce their soaring home energy costs. Of the alternative energy sources, two are most viable: solar and wind, but both have drawbacks. Relying on a hybrid of the two is a better option in the long run. Having a system that can draw energy from all available sources as needed is even better.
The optimal home set up might not have to take advantage of the local utilities at all. Energy drawn from sun and wind could be stored in the battery of a hybrid car for instance for use during peak needs. 'The average plug-in hybrid, which has a larger battery pack can store about 10 kilowatts of power. The average home consumes about 2 kilowatts per hour, so the car battery could fuel a home for about five hours.' (LaMonica 2007) Simply put, with a smart grid for your home, your hybrid vehicle could be programmed to draw power during set, off peak hours of the day and then use that energy later when it is needed.
The smart grid shows exactly how much energy is being used, by what appliances and where tighter control is needed. By showing exact consumption, smart grids are creating smarter consumers, especially those who are relying on the utility company for at least part of their energy - they need to control the costs of the energy that they are using.
A smart grid also allows for better control of energy drawn into the home itself. When an appliance is plugged in to the wall outlet, it is drawing energy all of the time whether it is being used or not. It draws this energy but does not necessarily store it for future use. A lamp that has been plugged in all day and the unplugged will not light. While it may have been drawing energy for the entire day, it did not store it.
Knowing how much energy is used or wasted can lead to a reduction in cost for the smart consumer. Smart consumers are most likely to be willing to tap into a smart grid to begin with. Obviously there will be some people that choose to remain oblivious to their wastes and excesses. A smart grid will only work for the smart people after all.