Obama’s plan to “share the watt”?
I thought it was to kill the kilowatt.
Wholesale prices means more real time pricing. Much of the advent of the 'smart grid' isn't to hoist some conspiracy to equalize pricing(which simply cannot and will not be done) but to improve a seriously aging infrastructure across the US.
In the late 90's to early 00's, US utilities, sensing pressure financially and making deregulation an 'enemy' of the people, reeled in their spending and asset renewal to the point of "fix when fail."
Since 1997, most of the regulated utilities fixed their prices. Those freezes came off during the last three years with more to come. when that happened, states like Maryland and Illinois balked and raised holy hell because of the rates correcting to the current day. That's what happens with price controls - either nationalization or correction.
The 'smart grid' is all about easing transmission constraints and allowing generation assets to be distributed whereever. With it's success, utilities and their customers will have two way information from which to make decisions on the price of power and the use of power. It is truly a supply and demand marketplace. It won't do anything close to equalizing prices but will, in fact, deliver pricing differences to the nodal/zonal level consistent with generation assets and transmission constraints.
All one has to do is look at ISO-NE or NYISO and their respective pricing on the nodal level. You see the beginning of this approach to pricing.
The Obama Administration, in 2009, will pass some form of a national Renewable Portfolio Standard which will raise electric utility rates. So beat them up about that. But investment and incentives into the "smart grid" are reasonable, way overdue, and needed.