Trends, Technology Give You More Control Over Your Electricity
The thermostat on your wall marks a new era in electricity. Whether it’s a dial-style older than you or a digital model installed last month, it’s become more than just a way to set the temperature in your home. That familiar gadget is now a gateway to a world where consumers have more say over their electric service. You might call it designer electricity. New technology, new regulations and new ways of thinking are reshaping the utility industry. These days, consumers can regulate the temperature in their home more precisely.
They can even generate their own electricity with rooftop solar panels and sell the excess power back to their utility. This new world started taking shape in the 1990s, says Andrew Cotter, a program manager for the Business and Technology Strategies Group of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Cutting costs and raising reliability for sensitive electronic equipment was top of mind. Companies were willing to pay extra for electric service that wouldn’t blink for even a fraction of a second. Other companies didn’t need such high reliability and looked for ways to pay less in return for occasional power interruptions.
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