Thousands of homes across the Hunter and in Sydney will form the first “Smart Cities” in Australia, as part of a $100 million trial that will see the deployment of smart-grid technology. Ausgrid beat tough interstate competition to win in the Commonwealth funding for the revolutionary “Smart Grid, Smart Cities” project.“Smart Grid, Smart Cities” is the first large-scale trial to test network, metering and renewable technology, along with consumer behaviour and responses, to help guide the deployment of smart grid technologies across Australia. Smart grids work by combining advanced communication, sensing and metering infrastructure with the existing electricity network. A smart grid can find and repair faults on the electricity grid quicker, self-heal, manage voltage and identify infrastructure requiring maintenance. It can also help individual consumers manage electricity consumption and will enable the use of energy efficient ‘smart appliances’, which can be programmed to run on off-peak power. Ausgrid will install new generation smart meters in 50,000 homes in Newcastle, Scone, Ku-ring-gai, Newington and the Sydney CBD. About 15,000 of those homes will become “smart homes” trialling in-house displays that track their electricity use and cost.“Smart Grid, Smart Cities” will explore synergies between smart grid and high-speed broadband technologies.