What are Smart Meters?

Chances are, the electricity in your home is run by an electric utility and your electricity usage is run by a meter somewhere in or outside your house. The main function of standard electricity meters is logging your electricity consumption that you'll be using. They're then read by an electrical professional and you're sent a monthly electric bill for what you've consumed.

Electric companies have started replacing standard meters (analog) with "smart meters."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, around 94.8 million homes in the U.S. already use a smart meter and whenever possible, electric companies are replacing analog meters that they read each month manually with smart meters.

What is a Smart Meter?
Smart meters are tools used for managing and recording the performance of electronic devices in your home and electricity. The reason why they're considered "smart" is due to their ability of providing accurate and detailed analytics of real-time electrical usage or at predetermined intervals without the need of a technician to come take the reading.

Smart meters provide updated information and can do various things remotely that used to require a number of employees to come handle in the past.

Smart meters are quite similar to standard meters on your home in that they measure and record your energy consumption information. But, smart meters differ because they're a digital device that communicates with your utility company remotely. They send your consumption data to the electric company every 15 minutes or once an hour and take away the need for meter reading.

Along with reporting the amount of energy you use, smart meters can immediately inform the utility company if your area has a power outage. They can dispatch crews quickly to come and resolve any issues and have you back in power as soon as possible. After everything is back to normal, smart meters notify your utility company of the resolution.

Smart Meter Pros for Consumers
Some advantages of smart meters are: 

  • Ability to adjust habits to help lower energy bills
  • More detailed and far greater feedback about energy use
  • Decreases the number of system-wide electricity failures and blackouts

Smart Meter Cons for Consumers
Some disadvantages of smart meters are:

  • Concerns about privacy of personal data collected and the way it will be used
  • Extra fees for installing the new meter
  • More maintenance responsibility placed on consumers

While there are some disadvantages, the smart meters' biggest benefit for consumers is their ability to track electricity usage. Most come with a digital face that displays updated data on how much energy you used. But, they don't tell you what is using the most electricity. When you're aware of your energy consumption, it can help guide you to make improvements. Not to mention, customer service will also become more streamlined when you use a smart meter.

Smart meters aren’t your only way to help you to lower your energy bill. A whole house fan is a cost effective way to cool your home. In fact, people living in some climates can save up to 90% on their air conditioning bill.