The smart grid can usher in a whole new way of interacting with the electricity system. When storms knock down wires, smart sensors can detect and isolate the problem without us noticing. Or, if we’re feeling especially ambitious, we can program our electric vehicle to automatically charge when electricity prices are low. To do this, the smart grid requires a robust communications network.
Beginning on June 29th, a brief but violent storm swept from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic, disabling electricity to the masses. The storm toppled trees and branches into power lines and knocked out transmission towers and electrical substations, leaving more than 3.8 million people without power, some for more than a week.
The U.S. enjoys some of the most affordable and reliable electricity in the world. This has largely been enabled by the electricity grid (the largest man-made machine in the human history), which provides power to our schools, hospitals and homes.