- There has been a lot of talk about the "smart grid" lately. What is it and why?Well, utility companies recognize that energy efficiency and renewable energy are going to come and they can't fight it. As a result, less energy will be purchased. Companies can have falling revenues, so there are three ways they can maintain revenue growth while selling less energy:1) Raise the $/kWh rate.2) Implement flat fees that every customer must pay3) Get revenue from tax dollars.The utilities are going after all three.The "smart grid" is a lobbying facade to act like they are doing something special other than just regular maintenance and technology updates to the grid that they would normally do anyway.They are doing this so they can implement flat fees. Centerpoint customers have already had the "smart meter" fee added to thier bills. The meter fee is a lie - they are savings millions of dollars by using a system that remotely monitors the meter instead of sending out people to read the meters one by one - so why the fee? Expect more fees to come...Utility companies realize that customer will not be happy with higher bills, so they would like to hide their costs behind federal and state taxes. You already pay utilites billions of dollars with your taxes and the utilities want to raise it more. This is a subsidy. Utilites recieve subsidies to provide you with "cheap" energy; however, you still pay for it in taxes, so its not really cheap.The problem is that the Utilities have NO competition. They are a monopoly and electric power is essential to our society so there is no way to stop them from charging you whatever they want.... Unless.... we can figure out how distributed power, like solar PV, wind turbines and biodiesel generators, can provide people with an option of utility power, or thier own power. Can we break the chain that binds us to the utilities?