Smart Energy Meters
Smart meters enable customers to manage energy usage more proactively and a utility to provide a detailed analysis of customer’s energy use at different times of the day.
What Is a Smart Meter?
Smart meters are self-reading electricity and gas meters that make it easy to keep an eye on how much you’re spending by showing how much energy you’re using.
This electronic device records information such as power factor, current, voltage levels and electric energy consumption. Smart meters communicate the information to electricity suppliers for customer billing and system monitoring and to the consumer for more informed consumption behavior.
The Benefits of Smart Meters for Electricity
Using a smart meter comes with a variety of advantages. This technology:
- Cuts costs: Smart meters make you more aware of the energy you’re using around your home, thus allowing you to reduce costs. Some retailers incentivize using off-peak, cheaper energy by offering time-of-use tariffs or flexible pricing plans to customers with smart meters. A typical flexible pricing plan operates across three time periods — the shoulder, off-peak and peak. Plans vary widely in both times and pricing depending on the state you live in and your energy provider.
- Helps the environment: As customers lower their electric demand, the necessity to build power plants or use less efficient ones decreases. Rather than building power plants for occasional peak demand, customers can reduce their demand through incentive programs and time-based rates.
- Helps customers take control: Smart energy meters give customers more choice regarding the management of their bills and electricity consumption. With a smart meter, a utility can measure a customer’s electricity usage in hourly or 15-minute increments. Customers can lower their electricity demand during peak periods by electing to participate in time-based rates offered by the utility.
- Allows for faster restoration of service: Smart energy meters mean more rapid outage detection for a customer’s home or business.
- Allows customers to make informed decisions: Customers can make informed decisions on how to reduce their bills and optimize their electricity consumption when armed with a better understanding of their energy use.
- Increases privacy: A utility does not have to conduct on-site visits to check your smart meter. With this device, electricity usage information can be relayed automatically to the utility for billing purposes. This advantage translates to savings for customers and lower operational costs for the utility.
How Utility Companies Set Rates With Smart Meters
As a utility provider, you may find that smart meters are more efficient than analog meters when setting electric rates for energy consumers. Smart energy meters will help you streamline customer service operations and gather information remotely with ease. You will also be able to determine if a customer’s usage is spiking for no apparent reason or if they’re having an excessive number of power outages.
Smart meters help customers take advantage of time-of-use (TOU) programs by paying on-peak and off-peak rates after an initial startup fee. Energy users can charge a battery at night and use the stored energy during the daytime. Consumers stand to save a significant amount of money by ensuring that most electricity consumption occurs during off-peak hours.
Make Informed Decisions About Your Electricity Usage
RateAcuity provides businesses with an accurate energy rate database to allow quick access to current commercial utility rates.