Green Mountain Power is making it easier for customers to monitor and alter their electricity usage with the roll out of smart meters. Customers can log in online at any time to review their hourly electric data.
Smart meters are advanced meters that identify energy consumption in more detail than a conventional meter. They have the ability to communicate information via a secured network in real-time between a consumer’s home and the utility company. By having a smart meter, customers can take advantage of:
- Energy budgeting and tracking
- Personalized energy efficiency tips
- Peak event reports and savings summaries
- Peak event web notifications
- Smart energy pricing programs
“Because you know your own usage patterns you can go in and get a sense of how you use electricity- we’re finding that a number of customers are able to use that data and change how they use electricity and save themselves money,” said Dorothy Schnure, of Green Mountain Power.
Although Green Mountain has made the switch to smart meters, they are a bit behind on the bandwagon. There are various other energy companies that support smart meters.
In 2006, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) of California began a smart meter program that affected 9 million residents and business owners. The meter changes allow PG&E to set pricing that varies by season and time-of-the day which ultimately rewards customers who shift energy use to off-peak periods.
In 2008, several utilities in Texas began implementing smart meters including: Austin Energy, Centerpoint Energy, and Oncor Energy. In total, the companies installed over 5 million smart meters in homes and businesses across Texas.
In 2009, Florida Power and Light (FPL) installed smart meters for their residential customers only. Customers had the option to opt-out of the meter update if they chose to do so.
In 2012, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) of Maryland began installing smart meters and upgrading approximately two million electric and gas meters in every home and small business in their service area. The process is expected to be completed in 2015.
Ultimately, customers should be conscious of managing their energy use. The more aware one is of their energy usage, the lowers one’s bill will likely be. Simple tasks such as unplugging appliances not use or turning out lights in empty rooms can make a difference in one’s utility bill.