Smart meters have been the topic of a lot of conversation lately. Many people I speak with are unclear about the purpose of these new meters. When I first heard about them being installed in Europe, I went online and did some investigation. The whole process left me feeling anything but smart. Since then, I have become very familiar with smart meters and the incredible benefits they offer.
A smart meter is the electrical replacement of the age-old analog meters that everyone is familiar with. The new meters enable digital, secure, two-way communication between your service provider and home. They are the keystone technology in the development of a “smart grid” that aims to alleviate costs, stop blackouts and provide more affordable and reliable service. The meters are really easy to read and keep a running tally of kilowatt hours used per month on their digital display.
After installation, SCE customers will be able to access online tools that will allow you to view detailed reports on past, current and projected usage. It also has a section that helps you budget your consumption and will alert you when you exceed your usage goals. Instead of having to dread the opening of your electric bill every month, the smart meter will enable you to lower your electric bill by tailoring consumption to off-peak hours and participating in “save power days.” A smart meter is installed with every Green Convergence Solar system, and it will become linchpin technology connecting all the upcoming smart appliances and programmable thermostats. Southern California Edison estimates that by utilizing the information, customers will decrease the demand on the electricity grid by 1,000 mega-watts while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gases and pollution by a minimum of 365,000 metric tons per year – the equivalent of removing 79,000 cars from the road! Some people are concerned that the meter will invade their privacy. If you happen to be one of those people, you can place yourself on the delay list while companies review an opt-out option.
In my humble opinion, it’s a no brainer. Why not save money while saving the environment? If it’s privacy you’re interested in, look at it this way: now you won’t have to open your property for a meter reader every month. It’s human nature to resist change, but the smart grid is inevitable. The sooner people become educated about it, the faster we can all reap the benefits.