Across Australia, smart meters are gradually taking the place of conventional electricity meters. Essentially, these modern systems offer a more efficient way for electricity retailers to measure the amount of electricity you use, but their advantages extend far beyond this basic function. They also provide electricity distributors with a wealth of real-time information about customers’ energy usage, while giving consumers more insight into their power consumption patterns.
Not sure if you should be using a smart meter? Already have one but are unsure of its exact purpose? Let’s take a more in-depth look at the specific benefits of smart meters and how they can help you save money on your power bill.
There are a number of different types of smart meters, and the exact model you have in your home will depend on your energy provider, state regulations and other factors. If you compare power meters, you may find some subtle differences, but in terms of functionality, they operate on a very similar concept.
How do they work? While there are some undoubtedly complex tasks taking place in your smart meter, the Victoria government’s Switch On initiative broke the process down into a few simple steps:
Logging in online allows you to analyse your electricity consumption, which in turn enables you to adjust your behaviour and reduce usage – minimising utility costs.
The versatility and instantaneous nature of smart energy meters give these devices a competitive edge that traditional energy meters simply can’t measure up to. Specifically, the Australian government detailed a number of benefits to using smart meters, including:
The core function of a smart meter is to transmit your household’s energy consumption levels to your electricity provider. This eliminates the need for periodic manual meter readings, which, according to the Victoria state government, typically cost around $25. A smart meter reading, on the other hand, costs approximately $5.
It might surprise you to learn that your smart meter is also capable of acting as a simple communications device. Energy providers can send out public warnings about power outages in your area.
Thanks to your smart meter’s continuous two-way dialogue between your household and your energy retailer, it can also help your distributor quickly identify if there are any faults in the service. This minimises downtime and, in the event of a blackout, ensures your provider can get your power up and running again as quickly as possible.
Smart meters can remotely perform some key tasks on behalf of your energy provider, such as disconnecting your electricity when you move out of your home, or reconnecting it when you relocate to another property.
Smart meters have the potential to not only save you money on your power bill but also improve the level of service your energy retailer can provide.