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While smart meters will provide a lot of benefits to pretty much everyone who uses electricity - whether they charge an electric car at night or not - the cost of swapping out everyone's current meter with one that communicates with the grid won't be cheap. In the U.S., California is taking the lead on installing smart meters. Over in the UK, energy companies and the government are taking a look at the potential installation costs and have found that this won't be a cheap process.

Lou Ann Hammond is getting ready to drive the future. Solar panels, a smart meter and - at some point - a plug in car like the Chevy Volt or PHEV Prius. Gritty planning details are in Hammond's post over at Carlist, which is worth reading.

Xcel Energy announced a plug-in hybrid test program today that will use six Ford Escape Hybrids converted to PHEV capability for a six-month period, starting before the year is out. The Escape PHEVs will be part of a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology demonstration in or near Denver (at least, that's where the press release, available after the break, is datelined. The release itself says " Xcel Energy will study how the vehicles perform in varied geographic regions and climates"). Three will be u