Everybody talk about Smart Meters. But practically speaking, what the hell is that? We all see what a meter is. It’s a stuff that measures something, in particular electricity, but not only. However, what’s the difference between Smart Energy and a Smart meter? What makes a meter “smart”? What are the benefits for customers? Why are the traditional meters being replaced with smart meters?
A smart meter is a digital electric meter often equipped with wireless communications technology. This allows Consumers Energy to communicate with smart meters remotely so that certain service requests can be completed faster, such as meter reading, service connections and outage notifications.
In a time of rising energy prices, many countries are requiring electric utility companies to provide customers more options to save on their energy bill. Smart meters will encourage customers to think more about how and when electricity is used, which, in turn, will help meet current and future energy needs.
Smart meters are a key part of establishing the smart electric grid of the future. Customers will be able to better manage their use of energy, save money and as a result reduce their impact on the environment with advanced meters. Smart meters will have the ability to send near real-time updates to home computers or energy management systems to tell customers what they are paying for energy usage so they can use energy more efficiently.
The benefits are many. The information that a smart meter makes available will allow a customer to take control of his or her energy budget. It will enable decisions to be made that conserve energy and natural resources, reducing the impact on the environment. Other benefits include:
- Improved reliability – Smart meters will automatically show outage locations so repairs can begin quickly.
- Enhanced customer service – Through remote capabilities, Consumers Energy can provide faster meter reading and service connections and fewer estimated bills.
- Greater privacy – Smart meters can be read remotely so meter readers no longer have to enter your property. Consumers Energy will still need occasional access for testing and maintenance.
To devle into the topic, have a look at these imminent implementations in EU Member States, and especially this very interesting document about the cost – benefit analysis for the roll out of a smart metering systems in electricity and gas in France.
Source: Consumers Energy, Wikipedia, Vincent BRYANT
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