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Smart Meter – Definition and Examples

With the rise of smart buildings, smart cities and IoT, energy suppliers start to see the potential of using smart technologies. Measuring how much electricity, gas, or water is consumed by a household can be useful for both parts, the energy supplier, and the tenant.

Definition

A smart meter is a device that can read the consumption of electricity, gas or water in a building and reports it directly, using the internet, to the supplier. They can track how much is consumed at which point in time and report any unusual activities. Additionally, there is no need to estimate prices anymore for consumption, as real-time data is available from the smart meters.

The smart meter includes a device that is connected to the sources where it measures the energy consumption itself. A display that can track the data and visualize it is often also included or can be bought later on.

Advantages

  • Real-Time Data
    Thanks to connectivity to the internet, Smart Meters can directly report the amount of usage to the tenant/homeowner and the energy provider. This helps to analyse data and find possible improvements for both parties. Suppliers can, for example, use it to prevent blackouts or interruptions in the system.
  • Control Energy Consumption
    The user can track their energy consumption for certain time frames and thus can see accurately where and when they are using most electricity/gas/water. As a result, this can help to adjust habits.
  • Automatic Communication
    Now that the energy meter is connected to the internet, reading and sending data is easier than before. There is no need for an employee to come to the tenant’s apartment or house to check the status. The smart meter will directly send all its real-time information directly to the energy supplier.
  • Accurate Billing
    Thanks to automatic and constant communication, companies can accurately measure the consumption in a household. This means that electricity or gas bills don’t have to be estimated for the coming period and thus can potentially reduce costs.
  • Smart Cities
    With the help of smart meters, the energy network can be better analysed. This will be a step in the direction of smart cities. With connected energy, buildings can communicate with each other to provide more efficient usage and fewer outages.
electrical towers for smart meter technology

Costs

The UK wants to increase its number of smart metering devices to the level that every house has one installed by mid-2021. This associated cost can be seen in the increases of electricity costs and is estimated to be around £100 per household.

In other countries, there are similar programs and most of the time it is the responsibility of the energy supplier to install these smart meters.

There are other options to measure the consumption of electricity within a house, but these devices won’t be able to report directly to the energy supplier.

Conclusion

Smart Meters will help several parties that are involved with energy by providing real-time, accurate data. Homeowners can analyse their consumption behaviour and will have more accurate billing available. Energy Suppliers can use this technology to improve their products and energy network, thus reducing outages and increasing efficiency.

If you want to find out more about smart and sustainable building technology, please take a look at our blog and glossary.

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