Smart meters have become super popular in recent years, but what exactly is a smart meter? Well, a smart meter is a small device which records the amount of electricity which has been used within the home. They can either be a digital smart meter or an analog smart meter, which can be connected to the internet to send data on the power usage.
Smart meters have the ability to measure the consumption of electricity, gas, and water, and are also known to be an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Depending on your home, smart meters can be installed on the outside of the building, or can be installed inside the home, measuring the energy usage in kilowatt hours or kilowatts.
Some devices can then send this data to your utility company, allowing them to monitor and regulate the usage, or are for you, allowing you to see how much you’re spending each day / week or month, enabling you to know in advance the cost of your utility bills, so there’s no scary surprise when the bill drops through your door.
The Pros & Cons of Owning Smart Meters
Smart meters have people divided on what the benefits and risks are on owning one. The biggest positive of owning a smart meter, is helping you to save money. By seeing your utility usage, you can make changes within the home to help reduce your bill. Or on the flip side, if you’re using less heat for example, than you anticipated, you might be able to have the heating on for longer during the coldest days, as it’s within your budget.
One downside is that smart meters can be seen as not being clear about how much money you’re saving by having one installed, as every home has different energy usage patterns, and different set-ups, like those that have cavity wall insulation, will help you to save money on your heating bills.
By using a smart meter, you can monitor your energy usage, and learn about the appliances you have in your home. It could help you to decide to upgrade your appliances to a more energy efficient model, thus reducing your energy usage and reducing your bill.
Smart meters are also not available everywhere yet, but they are gradually becoming more popular in many parts of North America, Europe, and Asia, so you might not be able to have one installed in your home just yet.
There’s obviously the cost factor to consider of having the smart meter installed. Some utility plans can include the installation of a smart meter, but otherwise, you’re going to have to fork out for the device yourself, and get it installed.
Some worry about their data and usage being monitored or analysed by a third party, and have privacy concerns, which is something to consider when deciding whether a smart meter is right for your home and circumstances.
Lastly, if there is a power outage, the smart meter will be unable to communicate with the utility companies, which would keep it from receiving updates on how much power is being used by your home, which could then affect the accuracy of the data the companies are receiving.
So, should you get a smart meter in your home? It all depends on why you want to have a smart meter installed, and what your current energy usage is. If you are looking for a way to reduce your energy bills, then it’s worth considering having one installed. But if you just want to know how much energy you are using, then it might not be worth the cost of purchasing the device, and having it installed.