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How Your Smart Meter Measures Your Energy Use
New energy tracking smart meters are being rolled out across Australia. If you’re building a new home, or if you need to replace your power meter, it’s highly likely you’ll now be provided with a smart meter1. Perhaps you’ve even thought about requesting one, but you’re still unsure of what they’re all about.
In this article you’ll learn what smart meters are, how they work, and how they may be of benefit to you.
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter is an energy reading meter, similar to the traditional ones installed in homes and provide readings on energy usage. Having a smart meter is an easy way to keep on top of your energy use to be able to manage your bills better.
A smart meter is a device that measures your electricity usage approximately every thirty minutes2. The reading is then automatically sent through to your electricity provider, where they’re able to make this information available to you via apps, web portals, or even in-home display3 systems attached to your smart meter.
Smart meters are around the same size as traditional energy meters, and use about the same amount of power4. Usually, they’re installed where your traditional meter used to be, so they take up no extra room or resources.
What are the benefits of using a smart meter?
Smart meters come with several benefits, such as directly notifying your provider if your power is out. Some smart meters even have systems which allow you to set up alerts for ‘excessive power consumption’2 – which is useful if you’re sticking to a budget. They also give you more detailed data through apps or web portals about your energy use. This way you can start making more informed choices about what times of day to cut back on your electricity use, and which appliances may be making a dent in your bill.
There’s also no chance of human error when it comes to billing. So you don’t have to worry about estimates being incorrect. As the smart meters roll out into every state, some providers have been able to implement some flexible pricing plans based around the extra information that smart meters give out. It’s expected that electricity companies will be able to provide even more competitive pricing and deals on electricity, but only when they’re in full use across your state.
Another factor with traditional meters is that although some of us receive our bills monthly or quarterly, power companies are only required to read a meter every six months5. This could mean that with a traditional meter, anywhere between 2 – 8 of your power bills could be estimates per year depending on your billing cycle and provider. A smart meter completely takes away the need to estimate bills. How? Because the supplier gets your information instantly, every 15 or 30 minutes.
How do smart meters work?
In the same way that traditional meters measure electricity usage in kilowatts per hour (kWh), a smart meter measures your kWh usage in 15 – 30 minute intervals. This data is then electronically sent to your electricity provider. Where traditional meters store this data in their systems until a person physically comes to take a reading, a smart meter sends the data automatically with no manual assistance.
The electricity provider can set up an in-house display system where you can view your usage. Alternatively, they may create apps and web portals via third party developers. You’ll be given a login, which you’ll use to access detailed information regarding your energy usage. This may include the times of day that you’re using the most power.
In-house systems can also be set up with alerts based on your requirements. For example, you can set up alarm systems to alert you when you’re using ascertain amount of electricity.
How to get a smart meter installed
Smart meters are quickly becoming the new standard in most states. So, if your current meter is faulty, just let your electricity provider know and they’ll likely replace it with a smart meter.
The verdict on smart meters for your home
Overall, smart meters will give you more control and a greater insight into your electricity usage. It may also give you more accurate power bills. It’s an exciting look into the future of energy saving, and a great step towards cheaper and more flexible energy pricing.
Looking for a better deal on your energy?
We understand how complicated all of the energy jargon is, especially when it comes to meter types, discounts, and tariffs. You’re looking for a better deal on your energy, and we’re here to help. So start comparing energy plans from our range of providers* online today, or call us on 13 19 20.
*We don’t compare all energy providers or plans in the market. The availability of plans will change from time to time. Not all plans available from our providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements or availability, not all products compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Some plans are available only from our call centre and others are available only from our website. Energy plans are available only for properties located in eligible areas of Victoria, New South Wales, South East Queensland, South Australia and ACT. Click here to view our range of providers.