What Is A Smart Meter?
Have you ever looked at your electricity meter and thought it looks like something from the dark ages? A sort of counting machine you could imagine Nostradamus using in his tower on a stormy night to conjure up images of the future? Perhaps that’s our overactive imagination at play, but some of these meters do look mega old. If so, we understand why you’d be asking ‘what is a smart meter?’
Luckily, the advancements in tech are now beginning to touch the energy industry. Specifically on how we track, record and manage energy use. By rolling out smart meters across Australia it’s a step forward which helps both providers and consumers.
So, What is a Smart Meter?
A smart meter measures electricity use digitally, meaning more accurate readings more often. It’s not all about reading your energy consumption though – they also have some big benefits for energy providers and how they deliver services to your home.
How Does a Smart Meter Work?
A smart meter works much the same as the old meters do, except smart meters can measure your kilowatts per hour (kWh), providing a much more efficient snapshot of your usage. This data then gets sent electronically to your energy provider, which is a much-improved system compared to traditional meters that store the information until someone comes to read the meter.
Some energy providers can set up an in-house display so that you can monitor your usage in near real-time. Energy use around the home can be easily shown. Others may make the info available on an easy-to-use app, so you can start to identify patterns of excessive use and monitor it more carefully.
Some smart meters also allow customers to set up an alert system based on a certain amount of usage. If energy use spikes, a notification can be sent.
What are the benefits of a Smart Meter?
Smart meters provide a better way to monitor and manage your energy use without having to wait for your electricity bill to arrive. It’s too late to do anything about it if you’re using too much through the billing period. They also help energy providers manage the delivery of energy to your home. They can now connect and disconnect remotely, and also identify power outages.
Detailed Energy Usage Information
Because a smart meter can measure your usage every 30 minutes, it puts more control in your hands. The information is sent quickly to your energy provider who can give you that data through an in-house display or a smartphone app. This allows you to get handle on what aspects of your energy use are costing you the most money.
This can give you an idea of what changes you need to make around the home to potentially reduce your energy use. It can also inform your decisions on what type of plan might suit you best if you’re considering a switch to a new provider, or even just renegotiating your current contract.
More Accuracy in Your Bill
Using a traditional meter, the energy provider had to send someone out to get your info for billing purposes. Using a smart meter which can send your usage data back to the provider every 30 minutes means no more need for power bill estimates.
The remote management of smart meters doesn’t just help for tracking your usage, it can also have real benefits in the delivery of energy services. Before smart meters, energy providers had to wait until a customer complained of a power outage. Now they can see this information automatically in the information they receive from your smart meter.
Energy providers can connect and disconnect services remotely. This minimises the need for a field technician to attend a property in order to get your connection going.
Better Energy Deals
Energy providers AU are now able to access more detailed information about the times of day people are using the most power. They can now better structure their deals to provide better value according to their customers’ needs. The energy market is growing more and more competitive by the day. It will be up to energy providers to use this detailed usage data to create more innovative plans.
Remember when phone plans used to give you an hour where interstate calls were cheaper? It’s not surprising to see energy providers introducing similar offers to entice new customers.
How to Get a Smart Meter
Your best bet is to contact your energy provider to see if a smart meter is available to you. They’re becoming standard equipment. If your current meter is faulty, or if you switch to an energy plan that requires it, you should receive a smart meter.
With that said, it could be the perfect time to shop around for a better energy deal. If you want to change to a smarter way of managing your electricity, Billy Explores makes that part easy. Visit our energy comparison page today and see what’s on offer in your area. We’ve already answered the question of “what is a smart meter?”, so let us answer another question for you too: “What is a better energy deal for me?”