A power conference in Wellington has been told how so-called 'smart grids' could save on the costs of electricity.
'Smart grids' involve a data wire running alongside an electricity cable, which enables the system to be adjusted instantly in the case of an outage, a power shortage, or to manage demand.
Transpower uses a 'smart grid' system already, but the system is in its early days for lines companies.
Bill Heaps of the Strata Energy consultancy says 'smart grid' systems would allow such close control of electricity systems that expensive additions might be unnecessary.
He cited an example in Tasmania where a system called dynamic line rating achieved a 20% saving.
Mr Heaps says this should not automatically be adopted in New Zealand, but all systems tried overseas should be examined to get what he called the best outcome.