How can we modernize our current electric grid into a smart grid that is safe, more reliable and more efficient? One way is through the use of something called a smart meter. It’s a helpful device that connects your home to the electric grid, allowing you to see how and when you are using your energy in greater detail.
The smart meter connects your home in a two-way communication with the electric grid. This helps manage the demand on the grid and increase service and reliability. This also helps you make more informed choices about your energy consumption and have greater control of your monthly costs.
- Advanced, or “smart,” meters can be read, connected, and disconnected remotely, which can increase consumer privacy, speed service, and help the environment by reducing the number of meter readers driving to manually check electricity use.
- Consumers can see their usage history down to 15-minute intervals, which can help them save energy and money by making small changes such as adjusting their thermostat.
- Smart meters will enable retail electric providers to offer new service or rate plans such as pre-paid service, time-of-use rate, energy analysis tools, and Home Area Networks.
- Consumers can start or switch electric service quickly and easily, and get accurate, on-demand meter reads.
- Advanced meters help the environment by conserving and possibly reducing emissions, delaying the construction of new power plants, and completion of service orders remotely, which keeps service trucks off the road.
- The manufacture, installation and maintenance of smart meters creates jobs.
- Automatic alerts are sent to utilities when service is disrupted, improving service reliability.
- Many advanced meters will measure electric consumption ten times more accurately than the required industry standard.
- The smart meter system allows a utility company to read customers’ meters without setting foot on their property.
- In the future, the smart meter system will help utility companies pinpoint power outages easier and restore power faster
- If consumers choose to use Home Area Networks, it is possible to schedule appliances to run automatically when prices are lower.
- Advanced meters automatically alert your utility company when your line has been tampered with, which will help reduce stolen electricity.
What is an advanced meter?
Smart meters installed on businesses and residences transmit electric and gas usage data to utility companies periodically, time intervals depending on your provider. This data can also be transmitted to the customer, providing appliance-specific data on energy use.
How is a smart meter different from the meter I use already?
Smart meters are different from traditional meters that measure total electricity consumption. Smart meters show when energy was consumed in addition to total use.
Do advanced meters allow my utility company to control my appliances?
No, appliances will only provide the consumer with data so that they know to manually adjust appliances for greater energy savings. Your utility company only has remote control over the smart meter itself. Access to any information on your meter will require the customer’s authorization.
Is my smart meter vulnerable to cyber hackers?
Each smart meter provider has comprehensive security measures installed into its system with multiple layers of encryption and firewalls and continuous monitoring. Although there is no way to completely prevent all risks, providers are taking every preventative measure possible to protect your energy information.
Do smart meters pose a health risk to me and my family?
No, the radiofrequency signals used by smart meters are well below those of other common devices such as cell phones, baby monitors, and microwave ovens. No scientific evidence has been found to link health risks to smart meters.
Is it required that I have a advanced meter installed in my home?
The Public Utility Commission has approved the installation of smart meters in four out of five transmission and distribution utility companies in Texas; Texas New Mexico Power is pending approval. In these areas, it will be required that meters be switched out for new smart meters.
How much will the new advanced meter cost me?
The Public Utility Commission has approved surcharges assessed in the range of $2.00-4.00 per month until 2016 to 2020, depending on your provider. These prices will also decrease after 1 to 2 years for many customers. Specific information for your area is available on your provider’s website
What evidence is available to show that smart meters reduce energy use and save customers money?
There have been a number of studies conducted worldwide and nationally that looked at the impact of smart meters. The results of the studies consistently suggest that, when provided the right information in a timely manner, consumers are inclined to take action and modify their electricity consumption. A California study revealed that consumers with smart meters reduced demand by 5.7 to 8.7 percent. A Norwegian study showed reduced demand by nine percent. And a UK study showed reduced demand by 12 percent. These studies are all based on consumers’ access to their usage data and the resulting reductions.