How Smart Meters Can Help Reduce Your Electricity Bill

Networked Energy Services (NES) May 31, 2019
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According to the Environmental Impact Assessment, almost half of US electricity customers today have smart meters. While the adoption rates may vary in different states, its installation has practically doubled. This proves that consumers have embraced the technology.

What is a smart meter?

For those who haven’t started using a meter yet, and aren’t aware of its use or benefits, smart meters are basically a more advanced version of traditional electricity meters.
While the old meters only measured electricity consumption on a monthly basis, smart meters don’t just measure power. They are computing devices that measure, collect and report utility usage data to utilities in short intervals.

They are linked in a network and offer advanced features like sending signals to compatible home appliances.
Electric meters were manually read by utility employees while smart meters can be read remotely. So, judging by this, it appears like smart meters are more of a convenience and benefit to the utilities.
It seems to save their time, effort and money, that was otherwise spent visiting and reading each electric meter. However not many know that smart meters are also beneficial to the consumer and can actually help reduce electricity bills and save money.

How smart meters can save your money

Smart meters not only read your energy consumption but can also detect possible issues. They are paired with a data collection platform that provides real-time data for monitoring problems and minimizing losses.

This lets the utilities troubleshoot problems remotely, which quickens the time spent in resolving customer problems.
Smart meters also let customers monitor and be aware of their energy consumption. They allow customers to measure and record energy consumption not only on a monthly basis but also on an hourly basis. Some can even measure usage at every 15 minutes intervals.
This helps them make more informed energy choices. If you wonder how, well, the data lets you know which appliance or behavior leads to higher energy consumption.

Let’s you set spending goals

You can use this vital information to set your spending goals and check and compare your usage with these goals to make money-saving decisions.

You could find out when it’s cheaper to run appliances like dishwashers and irons, and accordingly, do your washing and ironing when electricity is the cheapest.
You can also program all connected thermostats to function optimally with electricity consumption. You could perhaps program when you need the HVAC unit to cool the home or when just the fan is enough to circulate air.
The smart meter can even emit high-usage alerts so you know your energy bill will turn out higher than usual. It also notifies about any power outage, and how long it may take to restore it. Smart meters let you quickly and easily start and stop service remotely using remote two-way connections.

Reasons for resistance

Of course, there are still many people who are of the opinion that frequent measurement won’t give much difference in utility bills or savings for that matter.
They resist installing smart meters, even for free, because they feel it benefits the utility company more than them. Some are also worried about privacy because outsiders get access to their consumption data. There is also the worry about hackers accessing personal computers through smart meters.
Though all of these seem to be valid reasons to reject smart meters, most of the time, people who resist smart meters are because they are unaware of its benefits in the long run.

Helps utilities with electricity grid management

Besides, smart meter data also lets utilities forecast power demand, which in turn lets them manage the electricity grid better. Households using them soon experience a reduced peak load in electricity consumption, and a reduced base load, or periods of lowest consumption.
The data tends to prompt people and make them realize that using more energy-efficient technologies like low-energy refrigerators or freezers can help them reduce utility bills, and save money in the long run. They develop a habit to instigate stable behavior changes where they switch off or reprogram appliances as needed.

Conclusion

There are many people who have not one, but more smart meters at home to help them monitor their usage and ensure they don’t go over their budget.

This is because smart meters do save you money. They initially cancel the installation costs and after a few years, can lead to some real savings of at least 3% per annum.
So, however you look at it, it’s sure that smart meters help bring some discipline in electricity usage and consumption. It is this discipline which in turn helps reduce electricity bills.

Author Bio

Diana Zebian is a marketing specialist at a leading smart grid solutions provider, Networked Energy Services (NES).

Visit www.networkedenergy.com for more information.