A lot has been said about ComEd’s rate hike in the last few weeks. We also witnessed Mayor Rahm discuss the rate hike at a press conference a few weeks ago (http://bit.ly/zDvKVm). All this news has led to more questions/confusion on what the upgrade of the grid means for the average individual and the usefulness/benefits (or otherwise) of smart meters. Because we do more than just help people switch electricity suppliers here at Power2Switch, we thought we’d share what smart meters don’t do (and also what they actually do).
First off, what is a smart meter? Smart meters record real time household electricity usage and remotely report that information to your utility.
What Smart Meters don’t do:
- Smart meters do not reduce electricity prices. They are meters, and meters measure. Measurement is the simple function of a smart meter. Saying smart meters reduce prices is like saying the speedometer in your car helps you reduce the price of gas you pump at the gas station…
- Smart meters do not reduce your usage. You have to make decisions that reduce your usage by yourself (keep lights off, use energy saving bulbs etc.). The responsibility for being good stewards of our natural resources lies with each and every individual, not your faceless utility.
- Smart meters do not absolve you of the responsibility to pay more attention to rates, billing and all things related to your interaction with your utility.
- Smart meters — without you purchasing home appliances that have sensors for usage control – cannot turn your appliances on/off.
What Smart Meters Do:
- Smart meters help with outage detection and problem resolution where these problems are detected by your utility.
- Smart meters, in conjunction with equipment fitted with control sensors, help you keep track of how you are using your electricity.
- Smart meters enable customers (where they care) to see more detailed information on their electricity rates. You can still shop around for your electricity supplier even when you have installed a smart meter in your home.
Any other ideas on the benefits (or otherwise) of smart meters and the upcoming grid upgrade?
- Why a Smart Meter Can be a Smart Investment (txu.com)
- Smart Meter: The Basics (biodwellblog.wordpress.com)
- Smart meters could lead to huge rise in energy bills (guardian.co.uk)