There is a lot of buzz about smart meters in the air. What exactly are smart meters all about? They are a meter to measure your utility consumption. Unlike the non -smart one that you have got, it is programmable and the utility companies can instruct it to send the information of your consumption daily or even hourly. This provision of automatic 2 way communication between one and the central system for exchange of information and instructions is called Telemetering.
The importance of taking meter readings is not trivial. Non-smart ones must be read on a regular basis. At the ground level, there usually there are not enough resources for them to be read frequently. Consider a billing cycle. There are hundreds of consumers and a few meter operators who go to check these non-smart meters. There is many times that the meter operators are not able to do a routine check on all the conventional meters in accordance with the billing cycle and some meter readings are not provided to the meter operators. If the customers do not call the consumer services and inform them of the meter readings, then many a times the bills are estimated. This situation is evident mostly in the first summer bill. If the non-smart meters’ reading has not been provided, then the bills will consider the winter consumption of gas and electricity as the average consumption and the estimations considered accordingly. Such bills can be ‘rude shocks’ (as some customers insist). Such issues require regular non-smart meters’ reads and accordingly meter reading appointments are booked. While the procedure gets rolling, the customers’ billing report gets sent to credit agencies and the utility company also suffers losses due to delayed payments and the subsequent procedures to procure the bill amount.
Also if a utility company would want to know about the peak times of consumption of an area or household on a daily or bi-weekly basis, there is no way to ascertain it accurately.But all of these hassles can be eliminated by the installation of smart meters. They automatically send updates and meter reads to the utility companies on a regular basis. If it is required, then they can send update every hour also. This helps any utility provider to assess peak consumption hours during the day and be prepared to provide gas or electricity in the region accordingly. This information helps them manage the regulation of resources better and therefore not only the efficiency increases, but also there is a better supply to all the customers.
If there is a disruption in the supply at a property, then the first thing that they do is to send a signal to the utility provider, and gets them ready for the situation and also helps in a pre-emptive prevention measure be put into place. This helps in an enhanced customer experience.