National Grid has once again asked the state Public Service Commission to keep the financial details of its “smart-grid” project secret.

Since much of the project’s multi-million-dollar cost will likely be passed on to ratepayers and, possibly, taxpayers, the commission should say no.

With smart grid electricity networks, each customer would receive a real-time meter to show how much electricity was being used at each moment. The meter would communicate with the utility, which could send customers hourly wholesale price information and alert them ahead of time when rates are expected to spike during peak periods. The utility could even shut off household appliances, if customers choose, when prices rise.

The technology could result in a more efficient electricity grid, improve reliability and decrease the need to build more power plants in the future. All are worthy goals. But expanding the smart grid among all electric utilities across New York is expected to cost billions of dollars, and electricity bills are expected to rise dramatically as a result.

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