This week, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District is set to take its first step toward what promises to be the most significant development in electricity in a century: the "smart" grid.
Thursday, the SMUD board is scheduled to approve a 30-month rollout of 620,000 meters for the Internet age. Instead of today's "dumb" odometer-style counters, the devices will be brainy hubs in a new electrical nervous system that promises to save money and power and foster the next tech boom.
"The electrical system right now looks a lot like it did when Westinghouse and Edison were alive," said Steve Hauser, a vice president at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "Once you get these systems in place, it's like the Internet in that it sets a foundation for an explosion of innovation."
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