What Is a Smart Meter?
by Anne-Marie Monroe
Smart meters track electricity and gas usage for the purpose of managing it responsibly. They are used as a tool to promote sustainability and respond to current concerns about energy efficiency.
Smart meters take accurate readings of electricity and gas usage according to cost and time of use. They're installed in homes and provide real-time information on energy consumption to consumers and energy suppliers.
Because smart meter readings are based on real-time consumption, consumers can access accurate usage information. This eliminates the consumers' need to estimate their monthly bill.
According to a Park Associates study, the amount of smart meter installations is expected to soar from 13.6 million in the United States to over 33 million in 2011. Smart meters help consumers manage their energy use efficiently.
Smart meters allow consumers to reduce their energy consumption. For example, they can save on their electricity bill by shifting usage to an off-peak time, according to IESO, Ontario's governmental energy entity.
Energy suppliers enable consumers to set up an online account to review their monthly consumption based on smart meter readings. This provides them with a convenient, visual tool that they can use to help the environment.