By Chelsea Albers, JMI Intern and Florida State University Junior in International Affairs & LanguagesTags: Tallahassee, Utilities, ElectricityJust how smart do we want our electricity to be? Many cities, including Tallahassee, are installing Smart Grid systems. The Smart Grid System was created in response to higher demands for energy–to better understand how and where energy is being used.The system can be beneficial in some ways, such as in the case of outages. Electric companies would know immediately when there is an outage and where it is located because the system defines the flow of energy throughout the city in a very detailed manner. This would be extremely helpful, especially in large, densely populated cities.Additionally, the Smart Grid System can be used to decrease demand for electricity. This will be attempted first by informing consumers how much energy they are consuming so they can decide how and where to cut back. If that fails, a cap on energy per household can be put in place. By decreasing the supply to each household, and forcing them to adjust their demand to fit that supply, I suppose that would lead to a “decrease in demand”.City leaders’ claimed motives seem innocent and well-intended–to prevent families from running high electricity bills and encourage citizens to use energy more resourcefully. However, it is my fear that this is becoming the next level of government control over our lives.It doesn’t take a high-tech, complex system to discover how to keep electric bills under control or to help the environment. How “smart” do we really have to be to turn off a few switches or raise the thermostat a few degrees? Who’s to say that just because something is “green” it is also “smart”? If there is a common sense way to achieve the benefits of the Smart Grid System and avoid the risk of losing more of our freedom then it may be worth the investment.Did I mention that this project is expensive? Tallahassee is currently adopting the Smart Grid System, and we have the second highest electricity rates in Florida. Personal responsibility costs nothing.