Smart devices and the Internet of Things have been popular the past few years, but how does a smart meter differ from the older-style meters still in use in most places? A smart meter is a digital device without any moving parts that records electric energy consumption just like an older-style meter; however, it communicates monitoring and billing information directly to the electric utility company. Smart meters record energy consumption hourly, if not more frequently, and typically send daily reports that can be very helpful in locating the source of problems, such as a blown transformer or damaged components by critters. Additionally, smart meters allow two-way communication between the meter and the central utility company system. Collectively, the meter and system are referred to as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). The meter communicates either wirelessly or via a fixed-wire connection.
Smart meters are more accurate than traditional meters. Onboard hardware reports usage, reducing human error and errors related to inaccuracies in using mechanical meters that might slow down over time, for example. This reduces customer dissatisfaction as it avoids the unpleasant fallout from sudden billing increases caused by a simple transposition of manually recorded meter reading, or after slow, under-billing mechanical meters have been fixed.
Smart meters also have a built-in ability to detect a power outage and alert the power company immediately, resulting in a faster response and more effective troubleshooting due to a more accurate picture of affected locations and potential sources of trouble.
Additionally, smart meters allow for remote service disconnection and can better inform consumers with collected data. For example, consumers can alter habits based on peak demand times to lower costs – a win-win for both the electricity company and its customers.
Smart meters are an investment that can greatly help a utility company and the people. They must be protected to stay in efficient working order though, as they can be costly to repair and replace. To learn more about Critter Guard's systems in protecting your electrical components from critter damage, contact us today.