Smart Meters have Arrived to make you a Smart User

Smart meters are part of the next-gen smart grid technology that offers two-way data exchange between utilities and customers. It is called smart because it can sense across the transmission lines on a real-time basis and show the energy usage on an easily readable display.

Smart Meters have Arrived

Smart meters are digital meters that can replace traditional analog meters and can fit into the upsurge of smart infrastructure. It is an automated mesh of controls, switches, real-time computers connected over the internet that can enable two-way dialogue.

They can help us in achieving long-term goal of affordable and sustainable energy. Smart meters equip consumers with ability to save energy and draw immediate benefits of their decisions.

How Smart Meters Work

Like any traditional meters, smart meters have the ability to measure the total energy utilized. Adding to it, they can gauge the consumption costs in real-time so that the user can be notified on excessive usage or depleting quota.

They have the capability to remotely communicate with other connected devices in your home. With this, they can send back quick, accurate and insightful usage instructions for remaining time or allocation. It can also include gas or electricity usage in dollars, cents, units of energy, custom projected usage etc.

But if they merely show the real-time data of a certain month or week, it will not enable the user to make decisions on further usage. Because most of us don’t remember what was the number of units used or amount billed last month. Hence, smart meters offer historical information of consumption which can enable us to compare the usage with previous month or week.

What are the benefits of Smart Meters

  • Vampire energy waste: In U.S. homes, we often plugin but don’t use our TV, laptop chargers, printers and other home appliances. They draw energy which accounts for over 10% of electricity bill every month. We often overlook vampire energy waste which can result in financial losses not only for user but also for supplier. Smart meters enable us to monitor when and where our energy is getting used in excess. Knowing the exact time window where the energy being used helps us to spend accordingly.
  • Custom Notifications: Invoices for the energy usage are received only by the end of the month or when the usage limit is crossed. Smart meters give us real-time data and notify us on regular basis. They will also allow us to set custom usage warnings.
  • Increased Accuracy: Manual meter reading is vulnerable to being prone to human error. Since it involves human intervention, it is expensive and can be cumbersome. Smart meters will reduce costs and offer accurate readings.
  • Switch Between Supplier: New age customers don’t stick to a single energy supplier or source. They prefer to switch based on supplier offerings. Smart meters enable users to effortlessly switch between energy sources and suppliers by providing easier access to data.
  • Reduce repair Costs: If the metering system faces any technical flaws, it is always crucial to detect them as soon as possible so that they can be addressed before they result in significant damage. Smart meters can detect anomalies in meter reading process on real-time and save the repair costs.
  • No blackouts: When the usage is monitored on a real-time basis, the energy management becomes easier for supplier. It reduces the chances of blackouts and system-wide electricity failures.

 

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Pradyumna Kulkarni

Pradyumna is Inforce Computing's Tech Blogger. He writes on TechHealth, VR, Smart Cities and IoT

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