Letter: Constructing a Smart Grid

To the Editor:

We have been informed by an engineering firm that VELCO — Vermont Electric Power Co. — is installing reactors! These are electrical reactors, also known as “choke coils.” They are needed to tune up the system and correct imbalance in the three-phase, higher voltage parts of the system. The imbalance is caused by customers on the single-phase parts — end-of-the-line homeowners — generating power back to the grid. This is a part of rebuilding our grid system to a “smart grid” system.

These end-of-the-line generators are allowed to sell back the power they create. So who should pay for the reactors? Should the grid — everyone — pay? Or should only the end-of-the-line generators?

The argument can be made that everyone should chip in, since we all benefit from generating sources that are “green.” The argument can also be made that these changes benefit only those who are able to sell back.

With a smart grid, fair prices can be used for what is bought and what is sold back. Everyone should share the cost of the lines they use. It is possible that an end-of-the-line generator could sell back enough to cover what is bought and the line charge.

Howard Shaffer