These days, utility providers are investing billions of dollars in replacing analog meters with smart meters. Smart utility meters are expected to completely replace older gas and electricity meters in a few years. Although some people still have their doubts and concerns regarding the global smart meter penetration, many people across the world agree that smart utility meters help households make better choices regarding energy consumption.
Smart features are one of the things that add value to every home. The real benefits of smart meters for consumers include higher visibility and accuracy, lower costs, and greener energy. Thanks to this new technology, energy consumption data can be analyzed more effectively, meter readings are more accurate, and energy pricing models are more convenient. Another advantage is that the supplier can communicate directly with the consumer instead of sending their people to the consumer’s home.
Smart utility meters vs conventional meters – what is the difference?
Smart meter technology comes with various intelligent functions. One of them is simplified two-way communication between the supplier and the consumer. The main difference between smart meter technology and older meter technology is the communication between the supplier and the consumer. Company employees have to pick up their tools, pack them in safe bins before transporting them, and drive all the way to the customers’ homes just to read the old meters. On the other hand, smart meter technology eliminates this step by transmitting the relevant data directly to the utility company. This way, meter reading can be done remotely. A signal similar to a mobile-phone signal delivers the meter reading from the consumer’s home directly to the supplier and vice versa.
Visibility of energy use is one of smart meters’ greatest perks
Smart utility meters make energy consumption visible for consumers. With conventional meters, users tend to spend more energy than they need. On the other hand, smart meters make it easy to control energy consumption. They enable users to see exactly when and how much they are using via a display installed in their home, which helps them use energy in a more efficient way and avoid overspending. In addition, with a smart meter, you can compare past energy use to your present level of energy consumption.
Smart meters allow more choice in managing energy consumption and bills
Thanks to smart utility meters’ advanced features, you will be able to save a ton of money on energy bills. Consumers receive bills for the energy they have used over a certain period. This makes comparing costs with energy usage more complicated than it should be. To make energy management more efficient, energy suppliers can provide online tools for smart meter users to install in their homes or offices. Although a smart meter doesn’t save energy by itself, it can help you modify your energy consumption behavior. Provided that you learn to read the information on your meter’s display unit, you will be able to make smarter decisions and find better ways to cut costs.
Time-based tariffs help you use energy more efficiently throughout the day
Smart meters enable utility companies to estimate a consumer’s usage in hourly increments. If you participate in the time-based rates your company offers, you can lower electricity demand during “peak” times and save a lot of money on your monthly bills. The so-called time-of-use tariffs split daytime and night time consumption into different periods with varying prices. By creating these tariffs, energy companies are encouraging customers to adjust their consumption so that they use energy in the ’’off-peak’’ times when the prices are more affordable.
Smart utility meters help households and suppliers get accurate information
Smart meters are more reliable than analog meters. By sending accurate information to the power company, smart meters eliminate the need to make estimates. Even before they leave the factory, smart meters undergo testing. Smart meters can also be tested in users’ homes to ensure they are working properly. This way, there is no doubt about the accuracy of the information they supply. In some countries, energy suppliers must provide test results that prove their equipment is accurate. Moreover, they must meet particular standards, like those set by the American National Standards Institute.
Smart meters are a better choice for the environment
Smart utility meters help households make greener choices. Research shows that smart metering has a positive influence on the way people think about energy consumption. Having a smart meter installed in their households encourages people to care about saving energy. Furthermore, smart meter technology allows energy suppliers to collect information about energy usage in order to analyze general demand and supply issues. As renewable energy takes over the market, conventional fossil fuel plants are becoming more expensive to operate, which is important for utilities, especially with regard to cost.
Smart meter technology will help governments and other organizations limit the environmental impacts of energy consumption through environmental initiatives. Due to the growing trend of renewable energy and smart grid implementation, smart metering is expected to prosper. Additionally, with government regulations aimed to protect the environment, smart metering encourages renewable energy usage in new markets.
Smart utility meters help households as well as utility providers in multiple ways. Their key benefits include:
- Providing more detailed information to both customers and utility providers;
- Reducing energy consumption;
- Creating better electricity pricing solutions;
- Allowing for more accurate meter readings;
- Supporting renewable energy technologies;
- Supporting companies that provide utility products and services and helping them grow.
About the author
Teresa Thomann is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. She often writes about real estate trends, moving and home improvement tips. Her interests also include cooking, cars, and reading science fiction novels.