If you’re wondering why many utility companies are making the move to smart electricity meters, we’re here to help break things down for you.
Smart meters are replacing old analog meters and are meant to offer benefits to both customers and utility providers.
Current estimates show that about 80 percent of American homes now have smart meters which read the household’s power consumption (most often electricity, but sometimes gas and water, too) via the use of two-way radio signals akin to those used in cell phones and Wi-Fi, sending that information to the utility company.
Smart Meter Pros
1) Data use. While the daily household electrical use information recorded by the meter is sent to the utility company, it is also visible to property owners. This information can then be used to pinpoint strategies to reduce power usage, to control and reduce electric expenses and limit environmental impacts.
2) Actual use is billed. Remember being frustrated when receiving “estimated” bills? That doesn’t happen with the use of smart electricity meters. There’s no need for a meter reader to visit your property, so rain, snow, and so on, your monthly actual use is what’s recorded and billed, resulting in accurate billing.
3) Lower overhead. For utility companies, the use of smart meters has resulted in a reduced need for in-person readings, cutting expenses. This should be a cost-savings the businesses can then pass onto customers.
4) Outages more easily detected. Because a smart meter is consistently transmitting usage information to utility providers, they should be able to identify outages more quickly and therefore resolve issues in a more timely manner.
Reading your Meter
Some find smart meters confusing to read. Here are some tips:
- If your meter has a keypad, press 9, which will normally bring up your readings.
- You will then see “IMP KWH” followed by 8 digits with “kWh” at the bottom of the screen. This is your reading.
- Should your meter give day and night readings, you’ll likely need to hold down 6 until you see “IMP RO1” followed by 8 digits. This is most often your night reading. Pressing down and holding 6 again, you should see “IMP RO2” followed by another 8 digits. This should be your day reading.
- Some meters have instructions for reading the device right on the meter itself, so take a look around yours or consult the manual if one was provided to you.