What Are Smart Meters?
How do Smart Meters work? Smart Meters are electricity rate meters that are capable of determining the amount of energy a person or family is using without having to manually measure energy use by hand. It is a portable device that has a thumb-sized monitor on the end that has an integrated circuit and a connection cable that sends the meter information wirelessly to the central grid. The meters show amounts of kilowatt-hours (kWh) per calendar month and are available in both digital and analog flavors. In addition, how do Smart Meters work to conserve energy? How do Smart Meters work to make electricity cheaper?
How do Smart Meters work to conserve energy?
First of all, the meters are collecting energy use information electronically. The information that is collected includes how much electricity is used by the household, the age of the appliances in question, the average number of people in the household, and more. These types of meters are known as smart meters. The goal of implementing smart meters was to automate the electricity meter system, to eliminate the manual meter collection. However, there have always been some technical problems associated with smart meters that meant that the government pushed back the installation deadline.
Some of these technical problems
involved household appliances that were fitted with solar panels and other types of efficient appliances. When these appliances came onto the market, it was difficult to accommodate them on the electric grid, because they require direct sunlight during the day and use too much energy at night. Another issue involves how to read the energy usage information that is collected. Before smart meters were implemented, the home energy management agent (HEMA) would visit each residence to determine how energy efficient each home was. When the new meters came into play, the HEMA no longer had to visit each residence because the information from the smart meters could be downloaded onto a computer that the agent would take home.
When the energy efficiency guidelines
were first introduced, they were met with opposition from energy companies and other interests groups. It was common for the companies to lobby the federal government to roll back the implementation deadline. This caused the cost of implementing the new energy-efficient guidelines to increase drastically. Another issue that was often raised was how the new smart meters would record inaccurate data. Many homeowners became alarmed when they saw their monthly smart meter bills increase almost thirty percent.
The main argument against the implementation
of smart meters is that the majority of people will not see significant increases in their electricity or natural gas bills. The argument goes that the majority of homes will not see an increase in their monthly electricity or natural gas bills because the majority of people do not use efficient appliances. Another argument against smart meters centers on the fact that the energy companies will still be making money because the electricity and natural gas will be sold to companies that will then add the cost of these utilities into their energy bills. In the end, the debate generally boils down to a disagreement over fees and the need for utility companies to make more money.
With all of this information
it is easy to see why many homeowners are concerned about the idea of smart meters being installed in their homes. There are privacy concerns, about whether or not the utility companies will profit from collecting this data, and about the cost of installing the equipment. However, most people quickly realized that they will be able to benefit from the new energy-efficient appliances and will save a significant amount of money on their monthly energy bills. With all of these facts in mind, the installation process is now considered to be one of the most beneficial home improvement projects for homeowners.