What Are Smart Meters?

The Benefits of Smart Meters for Residential Homeowners

In recent years, you may have started hearing the terms smart meter or smart metering in reference to your energy meter. More and more electric companies across the country are upgrading their systems to include smart meters. A smart meter is simply an electric meter that tracks your energy consumption like normal but communicates instantly to the power company.

Smart meters can also:

  • Provide detailed insights into your power usage
  • Help you understand how usage affects your utility costs
  • Help speed up power restoration after an outage
  • Identify infrastructure needs for the utility provider
  • Help consumers and utility providers develop energy-efficiency strategies

Smart meters typically do not always rely on Wi-Fi signals. While some utilize Wi-Fi, others communicate with the utility provider through a secure, dedicated network.

Is There Smart Metering in Marietta?

In Marietta, our power is provided by Marietta Power and Water. They are currently in the process of developing a smart grid across their 60,000+ customer base. As Georgia’s largest municipal utility, implementing a fully automated smart grid is revolutionary. With the smart grid, Marietta Power and Water can get near real-time water, power, and gas readings. The move to the smart grid will also enable Marietta Power and Water to eventually incorporate remote disconnect and outage management features and voltage monitoring.

Keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about smart meters.

Will Having a Smart Meter Help Reduce My Energy Bill?

Possibly. On its own, a smart meter will have no impact on your electric bill. Smart meters and smart metering offer greater details about your energy usage. With more information about how and when you use the most power, water, or gas, you can use this information to adjust your habits in a way that helps you reduce your overall consumption.

When dealing with increased power costs, it can be especially helpful to understand how you use power during peak usage periods when power is more expensive. Because smart meters are digital, you can go out and review your meter during these periods, clearly see what your power usage is, and take steps to reduce it.

Are Smart Meters Secure & Safe?

Yes, they are. Most smart meters use a dedicated network to communicate with the utility provider. The networks used by power companies to collect information are generally well-protected, and utility providers are responsible for ensuring that they remain so. Reach out to your power company if you have questions about the type of network they use and for a copy of their privacy policy.

Do I Need to Upgrade My Electrical System to Accommodate a Smart Meter?

If your current meter is very old and still mechanical, you will likely need to upgrade it to at least a digital one, if not a smart one. When doing so, likely, you will also need to upgrade your service panel. Most people make this switch when they are already doing work on their home’s electrical system, such as during a remodel or when they are adding greater electrical capabilities that necessitate the upgrade anyway.

That said, if your home was recently remodeled and has a modern, upgraded service panel already, you likely will not need to do any further upgrades to accommodate a digital or smart meter installation. If this is your situation, you should quickly check your electrical meter, as there is a good chance it has already been upgraded to a smart meter during the recent renovation work.

Have questions about smart metering? Call Lightning Bug Electric for answers.