Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smart meters

Posted by Danny Tarlow
I had a meeting today with some U of T colleagues and a couple people at Toronto Hydro for the "Government 2.0" course I'm currently enrolled in. Like most people probably have, I had heard the buzz about "The Smart Grid" and "Smart Meters," but up until a short time ago, I didn't realize that the smart meter project is not only real, but up and running, collecting data in hundreds of thousands of homes across the Toronto area. From the Toronto Hydro site:
As of August 31, 2009, we had 602,418 smart meters installed across our city and we continue with our installation schedule.
We went in today and got more details about the data, and a quick demo about what the data looks like: for each house that has a smart meter running, they get hourly electricity consumption readings 24 hours a day. This is pretty cool -- it's to the point where you can see a spike in electricity use at 10pm and start speculating about whether it was caused by somebody turning on the dryer. Even just looking at the raw readings, you can start to get a bit of an idea about what the causes of electricity consumption might be.

So the question now is to formulate a project that could make good use of this data. There are some simple ground rules: no privacy violations, and nothing too controversial (E.g., no law enforcement applications). Other than that, it's pretty wide open. What would you do with this data?


dan.kirkpatrick said...

I've got a few ideas. Do you have access to the data? Is it public? I'd love to give one of my ideas a whirl.

Danny Tarlow said...

Unfortunately, no data yet, though I also would love to get my hands on it.