I Care About Saving Money

Today's incomes don't always keep pace with a family's needs. Energy management through smart grid and smart meter technologies helps families be smarter on how they spend their money. A smarter grid could save consumers billions of dollars by reducing power outages and cutting energy waste, thus saving money on their energy bills.

Learn more about how a smarter grid can help you.

Key Facts

  • Could mean nearly $600 in direct bill savings for the average household each year
  • Gives you control over your power bill by making it possible to monitor and adjust your energy use through smart meters and home energy management systems that offer 24/7 rate and usage readings
  • Reduces expenses to energy producers by allowing direct communication with end-user equipment to reduce consumption during these peak periods, lowering the need for costly standby power plants
  • Some states offer new pricing plans that make it possible for consumers to save money by controlling how much electricity they use during times of peak demand when electricity is more expensive

Q&A

Are smart meters accurate?

Utilities are confident in the performance of their vendors and the equipment they are deploying as part of their grid modernization efforts. The meter make / model utilities selected undergo a variety of rigorous tests before they are approved for use in the field. The standardized tests are used to measure accuracy during various load and weather conditions; the tests are industry accepted and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Additionally, utilities have implemented an enhanced testing procedure where they test a percentage of all meters they receive from the vendor prior to installing them at a customer’s home or business. Utilities also continue to monitor meter accuracy after installation by conducting routine sample and/or periodic testing.

Certainly, utilities understand that with any vendor or equipment, problems can occur after installation, so customers are encouraged to contact their utility if there are ever any questions about the accuracy of the meter or the bill.

Will a smart meter give my utility control over how and when I use energy?

No. Actually, you control your usage, not the utility. Advanced metering gives you more control. Participating in residential energy management and other energy efficiency programs is completely optional. Customers who participate can use the information they receive to manage their energy usage day by day. Or, they can set preferences (select a maximum temperature for air conditioning, for instance) and let the system automatically make adjustments based on the cost or availability of energy. Either way, the customer is in complete control and will have the option to override signals or not participate in energy-efficiency programs at all.

The smart meter takes frequent readings of your energy usage, but it only measures the electricity used in your household, it does not control it. If you have opted in to a program such as a PeakRewards program, your smart meter will not change how this program operates. The utility will continue to cycle air conditioner compressors and hot water heaters on and off as needed during peak usage times, the same as when you first signed on to this program. In the future, the smart meters will enable utilities to remotely turn service on and off at customer premises. This feature will be used when customers move out of their current homes and start service elsewhere. This cost effective feature eliminates the need for a utility field visit when customers move or start service. The remote connect feature will also enable the utility to place customers back into service more expeditiously.​

How much progress has the smart grid made in the U.S.? How many smart meters have been installed?

A map of smart meter installations by state provided by the Institute for Electric Efficiency illustrates progress. As of May 2012, 36 million smart meters have been installed across the country. By 2015, approximately 65 million smart meters are expected to be installed—that’s more than half of all U.S. households.

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