Canadian Journal of Communication
Smart power grids, Economics -- Political aspects, Marxism
This article investigates how digital technologies in the energy sector are enabling increased value extraction in the cycle of capital accumulation through surveillant proceesses of everyday energy consumption. We offer critical theory (Gramsci, Foucault) and critical political economy (Marx) as a guide for critical understanding of value creation in ICT through quotidian processes and practices of social reproduction. In this regard, the concept of the "prosumer" is extended beyond notions of voluntary participation in Web 2.0 to the political economy of energy use. Within this broad framework we investigate national and local level "smart grid" campaigns and projects. The "smartening" of the energy grid, we find, is both an ideological construct and a technological rationalization for facilitating capital accumulation through data collection, analysis, segmentation of consumers, and variable electricity pricing schemes to standardize social practices within and outside the home. We look at BC Hydro as one illustration of where such practices are being instituted.
Levenda, Anthony; Mahmoudi, Dillon; Sussman, Gerald. The Neoliberal Politics of “Smart”: Electricity Consumption, Household Monitoring, and the Enterprise Form. Canadian Journal of Communication, [S.l.], v. 40, n. 4, nov. 2015.