Smart-Grid Problems

Feedback from our readers

7 March 2011

Smart-Grid Problems
How could an IEEE publication make such a general and unsupported claim as “A smart grid would help make everything better, thus improving reliability, security, and efficiency, which are of critical importance”? [“The Smart Grid: A Primer,” December, p. 5].

What was the last technology that “made everything better”? It is shameful that a technical publication carrying the IEEE seal would make such a statement without providing an iota of corroborating evidence or even references to back up such a claim.

The article mentions that “the smart grid is expected to reduce or even prevent power outages by anticipating equipment failures and rerouting electricity transmission to compensate” but fails to explain how exactly it might accomplish that. Also, deploying sensors and communication systems to collect all the data from the sensors is comparable to deploying the nervous system of our bodies. Who is deploying this “brain,” and what if there is a problem with it? Readers may wish to refer to the investigation of the 2003 Northeast blackout in the United States and the problems derived from a software problem caused by a system operator.

Leonardo Lima
Scotia, N.Y.

We regret our casual use of language. The many potential benefits of the smart grid were detailed in our article, however.


Power Utility Standards
As a follow-up to “Smart Standards for the Smart Grid” [p. 6], here are the power utility fiber-optic cable standards that attach the smart grid to a power utility’s network operations center. Without them, there can be no smart grid: IEEE 1138 Optical Power, Ground Wire (OPGW); IEEE 1222 All-­Dielectric Self-Supporting (ADSS) Fiber Optic Cables; IEEE 1591.1 Hardware for OPGW Cables; IEEE 1591.2 Hardware for ADSS Cables; IEEE 1591.3 Hardware for WRAP Cables; and IEEE 1594 Standard for Helically Applied Fiber Optic Cables.

William A. Byrd
Chapin, S.C.

The writer is chairman of the IEEE Power & Energy Society’s communications subcommittee and is a member of the IEEE Standards working groups on 1138, 1222, 1591.1, 1591.2, 1591.3, and 1594.

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