The United States has always been a country that embraces technological change, but perhaps The Washington Times didn’t get the memo (“Smart meters are a dumb idea,” Comment & Analysis, March 18).
The smart grid transition now under way will provide positive new choices for our homes and businesses. While some have jumped to conclusions, the reality is that the transition is essential to manage our changing energy needs, a competitive global economy and an information-hungry population.
Our utility systems are just like any other piece of infrastructure: They need to be upgraded to improve safety, reliability and choice. This is like moving from telegrams to smartphones. Our utility system is finally moving into the 21st century and bringing with it an array of benefits, efficiencies and new consumer capabilities.
California utilities launched meter rollouts without adequate customer education, but the hysteria about “skyrocketing” bills is based on misinformation. The California Public Utilities Commission confirmed the meters operate and bill accurately. Some critics worry about privacy - the same concerns people had about the Internet, mobile phones, GPS and other technology rollouts. But the tech industry has been vigilant in developing safe and secure products. Just as the private sector worked with government to develop Internet protocols, the same process is under way with technology experts at the forefront in developing cybersecurity, interoperability and privacy measures for the smart grid.
The smart grid transition also means billions of dollars in private-sector investment. When did job creation, informed buyers, global competitiveness, entrepreneurial startups and customer service become negatives?
The smart grid is the key to growth for U.S. technology companies, the means to achieve environmental goals at a manageable cost, and the path for consumer empowerment. It’s time to cut through the hysteria and hyperbole and embrace our role as the world’s leader in this wave of innovation.
President and CEO, TechAmerica
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