What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are exactly how they are described by their title – they are smart.
They will replace the mainly outdated technology from the 20th century with state-of-the-art gas and electricity meters. This will herald an innovative way people think about and use energy.
Smart meters will bring an end to the estimated bill and the home visits from meter readers. They will provide accurate information on the amount of electricity and gas being used to customers and energy suppliers alike. You will be able to monitor energy use in real time, leading to informed decisions about how you manage your energy use.
Why are they smart?
Smart meters provide accurate information on the energy you use, enabling comparison between the amount of electricity or gas you use today against what was used the previous day, the previous week, the previous month and even the previous year.
The information provided by smart meters on your energy use will be available through hand-held display devices, over the internet, through a cell phone or even over digital TV.
Access to the information will be shared with suppliers, enabling them to read meters exactly and hence, charge precisely what has been used rather than working on meter readings or estimates.
Will smart meters be used by businesses?
In most countries considering smart meters the primary focus is on domestic electricity and domestic gas metering, but the operational structure currently developing should also apply to non-domestic customers. Saying that, many medium and large businesses are already benefitting from having a type of smart meter installed.
Many governments have mandated that large businesses must have smart meters within five years and are currently considering their policies on smart meters for smaller businesses.
What’s in it for businesses and domestic consumer?
Everyone will benefit from having accurate utility billing, but other benefits will be:
Real time data on energy use, which will benefit all energy users. Everyone will be able to understand the amount of energy they are using with different pieces of equipment, machinery and appliances, it will lead to easier decisions regarding the cost of that energy and how to reduce utility bills and it will lead to more energy efficiency.
Energy companies will be able to offer a range of new tariffs designed to reward clients who use energy efficiently and at off-peak times.
With more energy efficiency a substantial reduction in carbon emissions can be achieved, protecting the environment from climate change.
If clients generate their own energy through solar panels or wind generators with a Smart Meter they are able to sell it back to the energy company, which will encourage further reduction of carbon emissions.
Do energy supply companies want smart meters?
Yes. These meters will enable energy suppliers to become more effective and efficient in how they deal with their clients, as the processes of estimating bills and answering calls from clients with their current meter readings is extremely expensive and inefficient.
Energy companies will also be able to offer new types of innovative tariffs that will allow clients to benefit from potentially cheaper deals at off-peak times.
Why are smart meters being planned now?
Climate change is a foremost concern for many organisations and governments. Governments and the energy industry are continually considering more efficient and greener ways to produce and use energy.
One of the most important aspects in tackling climate change is the promotion of energy efficiency and smart meters are an important part of empowering consumers to use less energy. Many governments and organisations have completed a cost benefit analysis for introducing smart meters and revealed an encouraging business case for implementing smart meters.
Why are smart meters so important?
We are all concerned about the rising cost of energy plus the rate of climate change.
We are all aware of how much energy we use/waste and the carbon we emit. In the majority of states energy suppliers are required by law to reduce the amount of carbon that they use, and smart meters will enable them to do this on a large scale.