Why Utilities are Forcing You to Install a Smart Meter
You can run from them, but you can’t hide. Smart meters are on track to become the next big necessity for both residential and commercial energy users. Navigant Research forecasts the economic opportunity from these state-of-the-art devices will reach about $57 billion worldwide in the next 10 years. So if you have hesitations about installing a smart meter, it’s time to bury the hatchet, hold out the olive branch, and let bygones be bygones.
What is a smart meter exactly?
Picture your current electric meter – the one that the “meter reader” comes by to inspect periodically throughout the year. (Or used to, anyway.) Now take away the spinning dials, add a digital interface, and you nailed it. These high-tech devices are used to provide two-way communication between your home or business, and the utility. With the proper tools, you are able to continuously monitor and store data about your energy consumption, typically in intervals of hours, days, weeks, months, and years. But there’s way more to these doodads than just interval metering.
More reliable service
With the convenience of utilities interacting with the electric grid, you receive superior service. If there’s a power outage, your utility will be able to detect it sooner than it could with a traditional meter. If your electricity gets turned off because of late payment, your utility can turn it back on remotely, instead of sending a technician. And if you have any questions, a service representative can most likely answer it without sending the infamous meter reader.
With a smart meter, you have greater control over your electricity usage. If you choose to participate in time-based rates through your utility, you have the freedom to potentially lessen your monthly bill by limiting your electric demand during “peak hours,” which typically occur during summer afternoons. Some utilities even provide their customers with alerts to warn them when they are moving into higher-priced electric tiers.
New ways to monitor
How do you monitor your electricity consumption with a traditional meter? That’s right – you don’t. A smart meter allows you to view your daily usage through your utility’s website. Soon, you may even be able to track your consumption in real-time, depending on your location and what your utility offers.
With this much power and detailed information at your fingertips, who needs an analog meter? This seems to be the thought process of the utilities lately, as many of them are requiring the installation of smart meters.
Still not convinced you need one? Be prepared to pay. Utilities like Baltimore Gas & Electric are charging customers a one-time fee of $75 and an additional monthly fee of $11 for not having a smart meter installed. When you’re faced with the ultimatum, which will you choose?
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