TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

Smart Meters

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.

Advantages

  • 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.

FAQ

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.

 

Testimonials
  • "“As the Texas population continues to grow, so will our energy consumption needs. We must have tools that empower the consumer to choose their products and monitor their usage wisely. TexasIsHot.org is a great resource, which is exactly what Texans need in today’s deregulated market.”" - State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), Chairman of House State Affairs Committee
  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
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