What you need to know about smart meters
Electricity is constantly evolving, from traditional to smart meters, displays and appliances. But have you been wondering what a smart meter really is and how you can get the most of it? Learn about the advantages of using smart meters in this week’s blog post.
Traditional electricity meters – a thing of the past?
Formerly known as an accumulation meter, a conventional electricity meter could only record the amount of electricity passing through it since it was first installed (or last reset by the utility).
Traditionally, meter readers went from house to house every two months and recorded the numbers on each meter’s registers. As we all know, gas and water meters are still read this way in some areas. But what is it changing?
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What is a smart meter?
A smart meter measures how much electricity you use and when you use it. Then, it sends this information back to your electricity provider for monitoring and billing purposes. By doing so, they make sure your electricity bill is accurate at all times.
Unlike traditional meters, smart meters don’t require physical readings. Therefore, you should not receive estimated bills from your power company anymore. In addition, smart meters can also do other things remotely, like measuring the power quality at your home or notifying your electricity distributor when the power goes out.
Benefits of using a smart meter
1. Live usage information
In general, smart electricity meters record energy usage information every 30 minutes. In some cases, you can even have real-time data through mobile apps or web portals. Plus, based on your household energy consumption, you can even see how your property compares to others in the area. This way, you can identify where you may be wasting electricity and what you can do to reduce your energy bill.
2. No ‘human errors’ on meter reading
Furthermore, you can rest assured that your meter reading is accurate and not subject to human error or accessibility issues. This way, you won’t end up overpaying based on ‘estimated’ bills just because meter readers were not able to access your property.
3. Fault detection
Plus, a smart meter can directly alert the electricity provider when a property is not receiving an electricity feed. This helps them identify the problem more accurately and solve it in a timely manner.
4. Flexible pricing plan
Finally, one of the biggest advantages of using smart meters is that you can sign up for a flexible energy plan. This means you have the possibility to reduce your electricity cost by using appliances that use a lot of energy during off-peak hours.
Controversies about smart meters
Like any other new technology, some people are quite sceptical about replacing their old electricity meters. This is because smart meters use radio frequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) output, which is a form of radiation. Therefore, while government and industry bodies have been actively promoted them, others have raised potential health and privacy concerns.
How does the future of smart meters look like?
At first glance, smart meters appear to be where the future of grid energy is heading. However, except Victoria where smart meters are mandatory, Australians have more options and control under Power of Choice reforms on how to use and manage electricity.
In conclusion, whether you stick to your old meter or upgrade to the smart one, remember the choice is yours!
Until next time, stay informed and be smarter than a smart meter!
Your friend and electrical expert,