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Technological advances in our energy grid and home meters now allow Americans to waste less energy overall, and more tightly control the energy they use at home and work. Smart grid is the application of information technology, tools and techniques that can make the grid run more efficiently. The current electric grid is highly inefficient and is being modernized to make energy go further.

Smart meters are digital meters that replace the old analog meters used in homes to record electrical usage. Digital meters can tell you when, where and how you're using the most energy, and what it's costing you.

Together, smart grid and smart meters can help solve America's energy concerns through more efficient use of the resources we already have. Read on to learn more.

Key Facts

  • As of May 2012, 36 million smart meters have been installed across the country
  • Decreases brownouts, blackouts, and surges by smoothing the flow of power
  • Eliminates the practice of estimated bills, which means no more surprises on your electric bill
  • Promises to increase the efficiency of today’s system by around 9% by 2030, saving more than 400 billion kilowatt-hours each year

Q&A

Are advanced meters a fire hazard?

Smart meters do not cause fires: Smart meters cannot combust or ignite. Overheating is typically caused when there are problems with the meter enclosure. These problems can’t always be detected on a visual inspection and customers should have their meter enclosures checked periodically by a licensed electrical inspector.

Is the appearance of a smart meter any different from that of my old analog meter?

While very similar to the existing electric meters, there is one big difference in the appearance of the new smart electric meter: an easy-to-read digital display instead of the spinning wheel or dial that many customers have today.  For those customers, this will be the only obvious difference between the appearance of the old and the new meter. 

Will meters readers lose their jobs once smart meters are installed?

Traditional meter readers, who will no longer be required to “make their rounds” to personally read meters, will have the opportunity to be re-trained for other jobs within utilities. Some roles for former meter readers would include network technician assistants, call center representatives and utility assistants (such as tree trimmers).

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