California Smart Grid Gets EDF Tough Love

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has released a set of criteria to critically evaluate the benefits of upgrading California’s electricity network to a smart grid system. Under state law SB 17, utilities must prove that smart grid investments will hep California meet renewable energy goals.

Three providers, San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison, together totaling a costumer base of 20 million, are all required to submit their plans to the California Public Utility Commission by July 1st, and the EDF will rate those submissions over the course of the month to determine how positive the installations will be for ratepayers and the environment. Under a 2006 California law, the state must reduce greenhouse gas pollution to 1990 levels by 2020.

image via EDF

In addition to making sure utilities plan for smart meters, the EDF is also looking for items that will make it easier for customers to save energy and money, incentives for electric vehicles to charge when rates are cheaper, and the integration of renewable energy that meets California’s goals of having 33% of power generation come from clean sources.

The full EDF evaluation report, nearly thirty pages, is available for download [PDF], and includes the final scorecard, which highlights several consumer-focused issues, like data privacy, outages, and access to information.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.

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