Not many consumers have heard of smart meters or understand what they are used for. It seems today we have “smart” everything-smart phones, smart cars.Smart meters are used in the various utility industries of gas, water and electricity.
Their primary use is in monitoring the consumption of electrical poser via a two-way communication system. Though they have been around for years, many of today’s smart meters offer several functions including near real-time monitoring of energy consumption, notification back to the utility of a power outage and the quality of the power being distributed. Rather than waiting for a meter reader to visit a meter and report back in or for a customer to call and report an outage, the utility knows almost immediately how much power is being used on an hourly basis and whether or not a location is without power. Naturally this allows the utility to provide better customer service in the case of an outage, as the customer may not even be hoe or may be asleep when the outage occurs.
The meters have in-home displays that can alert the homeowner to peak hours of usage. This information can be used to help curtail usage during those times when of the day or those seasons when rates are higher, providing a money saving benefit to homeowners. Smart meters are widely used in European countries but have not found widespread acceptance in the United States as of yet. Other than providing information on hours of highest consumption, many critics suggest the meters provide no real benefit to consumers.
For those customers who also generate some of their own power through the use of solar or wind power, smart meters help facilitate the return of any excess energy to the grid. The combination of securing additional energy and making consumers smarter users of energy is a win-win situation. Everyone benefits from the use of smart meters. When used as part of a smart grid, the utility can monitor usage of an entire area quickly and easily. This allows them to better gauge peak intervals of usage so they can meet the demand. At ECO Power Supplies Smart Meters for part of our energy and power management systems.