Question #1

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Q&A

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.​

What technologies and apps go along with smart meters?

One of the major potential benefits of smart meters is their ability to give consumers access to detailed data on their electricity usage via an in-home display or internet portals. In-home displays are not yet widely available but should become available with a variety of options in a range of prices in the future.

What is the smart grid?

The smart grid is the evolution of our current electrical grid, using new technology to optimize the conservation and delivery of power. All told, the smart grid promises to increase the efficiency of today’s system by around 9% by 2030, saving more than 400 billion kilowatt-hours each year. That’s huge. That means we could save $42 billion in year 1 and as we keep saving energy, its value each year only increases.

The "grid" refers to our nation's electric power infrastructure. 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 very much in need of modernization.

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