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What is a smart grid?

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Quick Answer

A smart grid is an electric grid system that uses two-way communication between the grid and its customers to manage electricity efficiently with devices such as smart meters, smart appliances and renewable energy sources. The concept of a smart grid is an electric grid that automates electricity distribution without the need for technician intervention.

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The smart grid is still under development, but it will offer many benefits when it is created. Using smart grids allows for quicker restorations of electricity, lower electricity rates and improved security. Implementing smart grids will reduce utility management costs, which lowers the power cost for consumers.

Smart grids also have the potential to assist in power outages or other emergencies affecting electricity distribution. In the current electrical grid system, power outages cause a domino effect and disrupt traffic, communications, banking and any other system that runs on electricity. In theory, a smart grid allows for rerouting of electricity automatically. This enables smart grids to stop widespread blackouts by detecting and containing the smaller power outages early.

The smart grid can turn on power generators during emergencies as well. This means that, even during a blackout, a community can have access to electricity for its most important centers and services, such as its hospital, phone system and police department.

The existence of a smart grid gives people more control. With this automation, consumers will see how much electricity they use as they use it, rather than waiting until the electric bill arrives.

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