Smart Meters: Shifting Power Within the Energy Industry
Due to the advancements of technology and the rise of new digital tools, there has been a shift in power within the energy industry. The revolutionary technology that has seemingly disrupted the energy industry is smart meters. According to Ernst & Young, power and utility companies are expected to spend around 22 billion dollars in smart meters by the year 2020 worldwide, with between 90 and 130 million smart meters to be installed.
The implementation and introduction of this tool for energy management has replaced the need for utility companies to send out employees to manually read utility meters on site. Rather, smart meters directly send energy consumption results to utility companies as well as consumers in intervals below the hour. Here, we will dive deeper into the offerings of smart meter installation for utility companies as well as what it means for consumers in terms of power and control in the energy sector.
The Benefits of Smart Meters for Utility Companies
Receive an Increase in Cash: With the implementation of smart meters, companies can require their customers to pay for energy usage ahead of time. In the case that customers are defaulting on their payments, utility companies can shut off a customer’s access to their utilities remotely.
Provide Time-of-Use Tariffs: The display monitor on smart meters allows consumers to adjust their energy consumption accordingly. In turn, utility companies are able to notice a distinct change in consumption patterns, specifically when consumption is at its highest and lowest. As a result, utility companies are able to leverage time of use tariffs to charge higher rates at peak consumption times and lower rates when demand isn’t as high.
Reduce Power Theft: A huge benefit of smart meters for companies is that there is a sensor built into the system to immediately alert utility companies of power theft when it occurs. This can help companies reduce costs but also allows them to analyze consumption levels to identify anomalies which can indicate potential power theft as well.
The Shift in Power to Consumers
The distribution of power to consumers to manage their own energy usage has never before been viable with analog meters. Traditionally with analog meters, consumers would only get a gauge of their consumption through their monthly bill. However, with the installation of smart meters, power shifts to the consumer as they are able to adjust their behavior accordingly in a timely manner. With smart meters, consumers are able to:
Understand Their Energy Consumption: Consumers are able to connect their smartphone to the smart meter system to monitor their real time energy consumption and the costs associated with it. This access to their consumption data allows consumers to adjust their behavior accordingly in order to minimize on costs but also reach energy efficiency.
Switch Utility Companies: With more information at their fingerprints, consumers are making decision to switch utility companies to those that reflect their same values while providing competitive pricing. More so are consumers switching to smaller companies, specifically in the United Kingdom, and shifting away from the top energy providers. Technology like smart meters are giving consumers leverage to make smarter decisions.
Conduct an Analysis with Blockchain Technology: Through blockchain technology, consumers are able to compare their energy consumption levels and pricing to that of their neighbors and community. This level of transparency allows consumers to see how they measure up in comparison to other users and relieve suspicions of a hacked smart meter. Additionally, blockchain technology allows consumers to enter the energy value chain and buy and sell energy amongst themselves, posing a risk to utility companies.
Smart meter adoption continues to grow across the country. The transition from analog meters to smart meters connects all the different players involved: investors, companies, customers, communities and regulators. Smart meters allow companies and consumers to take advantage of the smart technology to reduce overall costs and energy consumption.
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About Urjanet Inc
Urjanet, the global leader in utility data aggregation, simplifies how organizations access and use utility data, enabling them to focus on their business. Our technology collects, processes, and delivers data from over 6,500 electric, natural gas, water, waste, telecom, and cable utilities worldwide.