By 2020, every home in Britain will be equipped with a smart meter. Con Edison is rolling out smart meter technology to over 5 million homes in NYC this spring. So what makes smart meters so smart?
Smart meters are replacing traditional analog meters to help modernize and make the energy grid more energy efficient and fair for consumers. Smart meters make integrating solar and most types of renewable energy into the power grid easier and more efficient.
What are Smart Meters? Are They Safe?
Smart meters come equipped with a digital display that both utility companies and customers can access in near real time to provide hour-by-hour energy usage. This data can also be monitored through smart meter apps directly on your smartphone, which provides you with real time alerts on energy usage.
Most utility companies provide users with a free installation. Users can choose to hook up an electric and gas smart meter that provides the option of a prepaid or monthly usage meter. Smart meters give up-to-date billing information based on how much credit or debt remains in your account, and offers detailed information on peak energy usage to help cut down on your bills.
Smart meters communicate usage data through low-radio frequency utility companies, requiring no in-home Wi-Fi or Internet for operation. The radiation produced by smart meters operates in much smaller levels than cellphones, routers, and microwaves, and is completely safe for in-home use.
The Benefits of Smart Meter Technology
Electric and gas smart meters make it easier for consumers to monitor their own energy usage, and utility companies to provide more accurate billing. This advanced technology provides numerous economic benefits for consumers to leverage utility companies for better prices by knowing their own energy needs.
Smart meters provide:
- Accurate billing instead of estimated billing based on real-time data transmission
- Remote activation for instant energy switch
- Remote shutoff when a leak or power outage occurs
- Innovative tariffs that allow suppliers to provide competitive time-on-use tariffs and low costs for off-peak use
Smart Meter Data
Like traditional meters, smart meters only collect data on energy usage, but in faster intervals and wirelessly. Smart meters do not collect personal information, and this information can only be sold to third parties through your permission; even when this is done it remains anonymous.
Saving the Environment
Real-time data transmission helps place less cars on the road for manual analog meter reading, and helps reduce carbon emissions. Pair this with the ability to integrate future energy technologies more seamlessly into the electrical grid and smart meters become one of the greatest energy saving technologies of the 21st century.
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