Making your electricity grid ‘smart’ – or at least smart enough for you to know when to run which appliance – may be the future in dealing with bloating electricity bills.
An algorithm and hardware developed by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) can ensure appliances such as washing machine, dish washer, refrigerator, among others, to run at the best possible time, at the best possible mode to reduce energy consumption. The study paper, published recently, claims that the ‘smart electricity grid’ can reduce your electricity bill by at least 15 per cent.
The smart grid system will be particularly useful when time-of-day (TOD) pricing that is being implemented in connection with industries is extended to household consumers. Under the time-of-day pricing method, electricity is costlier during the peak hours. This kind of pricing has been introduced in many cities to deter excessive ‘non-essential’ consumption during peak hours.
The study notes that unlike other applications, the smart grid system optimised cost as well as convenience. A washing machine during peak hours may not shut down completely, but will run in ‘modes’ that consume lesser energy; the refrigerator will be toned down to ensure cooling effect is optimised. The algorithm ‘learns’ about the user preference before tabulating cost.
“An Energy Consumption Scheduler (ECS) will sit inside the smart meter to make the scheduling decisions on behalf of the consumer,” says Mannam Rama Rao, research scholar at the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, IISc. The study was carried out in collaboration with Joy Kuri and T.V. Prabhakar from the department.
Mr. Rao believes the TOD pricing will offer demand side management and India is not too far from implementing the system. Bescom, for instance, already has the concept for the HT consumers – industries and factories.