What Are Smart Meters?
Many utilities are now replacing old analog meters with digital smart meters. Rather than having to be read once a month, these new smart meters transmit information about a customer’s energy use in real time. As a result, smart meters can tell not only how much energy customers use, but also when they use it and even what they’re using it for. By providing such detailed information, smart meters empower consumers to be more energy efficient, helping them lower costs.
However, despite the potential upsides, not everyone is a fan of smart meters. Critics have raised objections about privacy issues and whether the promised savings are all they’re cracked up to be.
Below you can find an overview of this debate that will help you decide whether getting a smart meter is worth it.
Benefits of Smart Meters
The meter can yield insights that can not only help individual customers save energy but also help utilities manage the energy supply more efficiently. The real-time, detailed information provided by the smart meter can potentially transform the way we consume energy. The benefits of smart meters include:
- Monitoring for more efficient use of energy resources.
- Better distribution of power during peak demand times, reducing brownouts and power outages
- Provides customized information on energy use
- Reducing need for additional power generation facilities
- Dynamic pricing, where energy price changes based on demand.
Downsides of Smart Meters
As with most technology transitions, there have been some road bumps along the way. Some have complained that smart meters are:
- More expensive and you will see increased charges on utility bills
- Potentially dangerous, some have caused fires
- “Big Brother” feeling, as the utility can see how much energy you use and at what times
- Not accurate, leading to higher bills.
The Bottom Line
Smart meters help households and utilities better understand their energy use, helping consumers both conserve energy and cut costs and utilities better manage and distribute power.
Smart meters are a new technology and come with adoption risks. Smart meters may not be entirely accurate, potentially pose safety concerns, and come with some privacy risks.