Question #3

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Q&A

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.
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.

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. 

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