How will the smart grid work?

Ian Muttoo/Creative Commons

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For most of the developed world, a flick of a switch brings the lights, television, computer, and dozens of other gadgets and appliances to life without question. This seemingly simple luxury, however, masks a complex network of interactions between a variety of suppliers and services, both public and private. Communication between these entities is complicated -- but smart grid technology attempts to make it more effective, more interactive, and ultimately, more efficient.