I Want To Be Empowered

Smart Meters are letting people take control of their energy use - and energy bills - to a new level. It doesn't matter if you live in a studio apartment or 30-room mansion. By tracking when and how you use electricity at home, Smart Meters help you identify ways you can waste less energy and that translates into more money in your bank account and a cleaner planet.

Learn more about how Smart Grid and Smart Meters are helping guarantee America's future by getting energy usage under control, today.

Key Facts

  • Enables easy-to-use tools like simple online displays of energy use and prices and set-and-forget home energy management tools
  • Facilitates broad-scale electric vehicle charging so that reliable, low-cost ways to recharge it anytime, anywhere exist
  • Will generate tens of thousands of Smart Grid related jobs over the next decade
  • Real-time pricing information helped consumers reduce their electricity costs 10% on average and their peak consumption by 15%

Q&A

Can I purchase and install or remove my own meter?

No, it is illegal and unsafe to do so. Other than some limited exceptions the utility owns and maintains the metering equipment. This includes electric and gas meters used for measurement and billing, and other equipment such as transformers on the ground or on a pole.  Removing or tampering with the property creates a safety issue, which may result in termination of service, and is considered a crime. If done improperly it can result in serious injury or death. Licensed electricians must contact utilities when work requires a meter to be removed, reset, or the power cut or reconnected at a customer premise. 

What are the benefits of the smart grid?

The smart grid empowers customers by creating the foundation necessary for a number of new technology-driven energy alternatives, emission reductions, efficiency improvements, a shift to a lower emitting fuel for transpor­tation, and encourages more energy efficiency by providing real-time energy usage data to customers. Research shows that when customers know how much energy they’re using, they will reduce their use by 5 to 10 percent. Additionally, the smart grid promotes integration of the vast amount of renewable energy that is currently being mandated and that is already in the pipeline for development.

  • A smart grid senses problems and reroutes power automatically.  This prevents some outages and reduces the length of those that do occur.
  • A smart grid helps meet growing demand for electricity while limiting the need to invest in new power plants.
  • A smart grid delivers the power “quality” necessary to run our increasingly digital homes – power with fewer sags, spikes, and interruptions.
  • Smart grid reduces greenhouse gas emissions by making it easier to connect renewable energy sources to the electricity grid.
  • Smart grid and smart meters help consumers save money by providing near real time energy usage information and the ability to manage electricity use.
  • Smart grid and smart meters make it easier for utilities to offer new kinds of rate plans to help customers manage energy usage and cost -- for example, by shifting some types of usage to times of day when electricity costs less. 
  • Smart meters eliminate the need for meter reading – instead, usage information is transmitted directly to the utility for timely, accurate billing.  There is never a need to send an estimated bill to the customer.
Do smart meters help the environment?

Yes, a smart grid is a greener grid. Smart meters and intelligent grid can significantly benefit the environment by reducing consumption of fossil fuel resources, thereby reducing emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) and other air pollutants. Environmental benefits can be achieved in three ways:

  1. Reducing electricity consumption and increasing transmission and distribution efficiency
    Studies suggest that given the ability to monitor their energy use more frequently in greater detail, many consumers may begin turning off unneeded appliances, change to more efficient lighting, adjust thermostats and make other energy-saving changes.  If consumers conserve energy, less power may need to be produced. Reduced emissions from potentially decreased power generation could translate into better air quality.
  2. Reducing utility’s vehicular needs
    Smart meters will also reduce the consumption of resources and associated emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants associated with performing basic utility services such as connections, disconnections, and meter readings, which can be conducted remotely for consumers with smart meters without sending out a truck. As of October 2010 for example, CenterPoint Energy has avoided over 300,000 "truck rolls" by completing service orders electronically.
  3. Promoting distributed and renewable energy production and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
    Finally, smart grid will create a platform that will promote the development and deployment of technologies for increasing distributed generation (DG) and energy storage capacity, such as wind and solar generation, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Smart meters measure surplus electricity generated as well as electricity delivered, eliminating the need for installation of expensive specialized DG metering. Distributed generation can help reduce the need for new fossil-fuel-generated capacity and therefore benefit the environment. The smart grid will also include technologies that facilitate the use of PHEVs, thereby reducing the consumer’s reliance on gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles.

Submit your smart grid story now and receive a $25 energy participation award!

We want to hear your story on how smart grid or smart meters enabled you to take control of your power. Submit a video directly or write out your story - we want you to be creative and tell us what ways your improved electricity options helped you save money, protect the environment, or enabled cool things to use.

For each accepted submission, you would receive a $25 energy participation award.

Submit your story now!

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