There’s recently been a lot of news about a new type of electricity meter called the smart meter. The main benefit of having one is the way it sends information to your electricity provider. This eliminates the need of someone coming to your house to read the meter every month, reducing their labor costs. Another big benefit – it’s more accurate.
The smart meter is supplied and installed by your provider for free because the utility companies want you to have one. In addition to getting a meter installed outside your home, you’ll also get one for inside. The one installed inside your home shows your electrical usage and how much you’re actually spending on power in real time. There are several ways this allows you to save electricity and money.
Learn about your energy consumption
Smart meters are a great tool as they can help you understand your overall energy consumption. With an in-home display or an app on your smartphone, you can easily determine how your electrical usage affects your utility bills. This way you can make better choices about the electrical appliances you use.
For example, you can use the app or monitor to ensure that you don’t leave any appliances running when leaving the house or going to bed. If you have other smart home technology in your home, you can turn off the TV remotely or adjust the thermostat. However, you don’t have to have a smart home and related technology to save energy and money with a smart meter.
Monitor your energy usage
It’s always a nasty shock when you receive your energy bill. But with a smart meter, you’ll now be able to track down the source of the problem. Smart meters help you to understand which activities and appliances are contributing to the electricity bill the most. Maybe you have power strips that are turned on, slowly leaking power. The more likely culprits are appliances we don’t realize are energy hogs.
Perhaps you need to change the filters in the pool pump so that it doesn’t run as long. You might decide that the cost to run the freezer in the garage isn’t worth it, or you may have the data you need to justify buying more energy-efficient appliances. A smart meter will help you take a step back from your daily routine, of turning on the lights, the heater, and the TV when you get home, to see where you can save money.
Once you can associate a price tag to your routine, you may decide to turn on a radio for background noise instead of the television. Or unplug your phone and appliances when fully charged instead of leaving it overnight. Your utility company can also use the data from the smart meter to give personalized advice on how to save energy.
Another way smart meters can help you save money is by giving you information on when energy is cheaper. For example, if you have a nights or weekends free energy plan, the smart meter could tell you when you won’t have to pay to run your clothes washer and dryer.
Monitor your progress and set goals
You can also set targets or goals and monitor progress using the app or in-home monitor. Some customers reduced their energy consumption by 1- 2% with the smart meter. If you’re managing to bring down your energy usage, learn whether or not the utility company will give you an incentive for doing even better.
In some cases, you may be able to save significant money because you bring your energy level down to a cheaper “tier”. For example, you typically pay more per kilowatt hour for every bit of power over 2000 kWh, but you may pay far less per kilowatt hour if you can drop below 1500 kilowatt hours per month.
Compare energy plans
When you have a smart meter, you’ll know how much electricity you’re consuming every day. You can take simple steps like replacing your light bulbs, turning off lights and electrical appliances when they’re not in use. Or you could take bigger steps like purchasing energy efficient appliances and changing your lifestyle. Once you know your usage and how much it costs you, you can also compare energy plans on iSelect to see if you can find a better option more suited to you. In fact, you could research utility company plans that reward you for conservation in addition to charging less for power.