Santa Clara electrical utility buys MetroFi's SkyPilot Wi-Fi nodes: The Silicon Valley Power (SVP) Meter Connect program will use the wireless backbone for automatic meter infrastructure (AMI) as part of a program to switch to smart meters and provide demand-based pricing and response for customers. They'll start with a pilot with a couple thousand smart meters, and eventually replace 45,000 residential and 6,000 business meters. Meters and the back-end systems are out for bid.
The current bill for providing American infrastructure rebuilding includes $4.5b in smart-grid spending, and utilities will be vying for hunks of this to pay or subsidize infrastructure updates. The money is well spent. The smarter the grid, the less power people and businesses use at peak times (through higher prices for peak power or incentives for conservation), and the less idle off-peak power plants have to be in place.