No matter what you buy, you probably expect value-added service as part of the transaction. When it comes to the delivery of electricity, ‘value-added’ means a reliable source of power, information to help you manage your electricity use, and options for renewable sources of power.
Smart Meters are a way of delivering more value for your electricity dollars. More than just a little grey monitor that measures electricity usage for billing purposes, smart meters are paramount when it comes to customer service. They record the date and time when electricity is used, transmit the information back to the utility and make it possible for you to view your consumption data online. Having this information allows you to save money by shifting your electricity use to cheaper off-peak hours.
And there’s more. Because Smart Meters are state-of-the-art wireless devices that communicate directly with electric utilities like Alectra Utilities (formerly PowerStream) through a secure two-way communication portal, they also tell us when your power is out and provide you with updates about when it will be restored. Updating now happens more quickly, thanks to new technologies that we’re building right into our electricity grid.
Smart Meters also provide Alectra Utilities with theft of-power indication, meter damage signals and voltage levels. What’s more, they offer customers who have enrolled in energy management programs the ability to shift the time electricity is used by appliances such as pool pumps and air conditioners, remotely, to less expensive price periods.
If you have an electric vehicle that’s plugged into your home’s charging station, your Smart Meter knows about it and keeps track for you. Soon, your Smart Meter will even be able to communicate directly with other smart appliances in your home, signalling them to turn down, or turn off completely, based on the cost of electricity.
If you produce your own electricity, from solar panels, for example, smart meters also record how much electricity the panels generate. You are only charged for the electricity you draw from the main electricity grid. Sounds pretty smart, right?
Depending on the time-of- day, you may choose to shift your electricity use to off-peak times, when rates are cheaper. Your Smart Meter keeps track of this choice. You may also choose to take advantage of several government- sponsored programs offered by Alectra Utilities that can help you to reduce your overall electricity use, which in turn reduces demand on the provincial electricity grid.
Using the two-way communications ability of the Smart Meter, Alectra Utilities can provide the customer tools to better manage energy consumption in the home.
Smart Meters assist Alectra Utilities in maximizing the use of equipment such as step-down transformers and other distribution system components by providing operational data on the transformers’ use every hour throughout the year.
Smart Meter Technology Case Study (743KB PDF)