Smart Meters are Saving Moneyby Tim Manni
US utility companies are expanding a pilot program that allows consumers to monitor their energy consumption on a regular basis in order to save power and money. Advanced meters, called “smart” meters, are usually installed in conspicuous locations like the kitchen or living room. When consumers are constantly reminded of how much energy they are using, they tend to use less.
Utility companies that install smart meters are also enacting rebate and rate increase programs, aiming to save money and reduce usage at peak hours. Certain utility companies raise their rates at peak hours, forcing their customers to cut back. Other companies offer consumers rebates for each kilowatt per-hour saved.
One New Jersey couple whose home was equipped with a smart meter saved $350 in an 18 month period, and reduced their energy expenses by 10%. The couple received email notifications that their hourly rate would increase the following day, which allowed them to alter their energy usage.
Smart meter programs are also an incentive for utility companies that must compete with escalating costs. The advanced meters have allowed major utilities to cut back on other expenses like meter reading.