Is your utility company planning on installing a smart meter on your home? You're not alone. These meters have been implemented in a number of regions across the United States, as well as in other countries in North America, Europe and Oceania. Read on to find out more about why these smart devices are growing in popularity and what you need to know about them.
Three Advantages for You
Smart meters have several big advantages over your traditional electricity meter. For one thing, they send their data to the utility company automatically, so there's no need for a meter reader to come by once a month. That also means they can turn your service on and off remotely, so you don't have to sit around and wait all day to get the power switched on after you move into a new home.
To take advantage of the remote reading capability, smart meters calculate your usage frequently, between every fifteen minutes and one hour, so you get a much better idea of when you use the most electricity. Additionally, most smart meters let you access a granular breakdown of all the data they collect about your energy usage, so you can make informed decisions about how and when to use your appliances. If you notice a big spike during the daytime, for example, you can turn the air conditioner down a notch or two, or cut down on the number of televisions you have on. It's easy to save electricity if you break down your consumption device by device, and a smart meter gives you the ability to get started.
Real Time Feedback
The smart meter also helps your utility company respond quickly to any outages and fine-tune its production. Since the company gets feedback about your consumption within an hour, it will know automatically if your power goes out and can see what other houses are having problems. That way, the company can get a jump-start on addressing the outage and act quickly to alleviate any accompanying safety concerns, like a downed wire.
What's more, the meter tells the company exactly when people are using power, so it can adjust its supply accordingly. From there, utilities have the option of instituting time-of-day pricing, selling electricity at cheaper rates during nights and weekends. This allows utilities to balance out their production schedules and use fewer auxiliary plants during the day, which reduces fossil fuel consumption and helps keep prices lower overall.
Spreading Across the Country
As more people discover the benefits of smart meters, their adoption is poised to increase across the country. Next time your utility provider upgrades its equipment, chances are you will get a smart meter installed if you don't have one already. If you have further questions about smart meters, how they work and what information they collect, contact your local electrician today.