Smart meters have become more popular over the last few years, and many places have forced homeowners to install them.
Smart meters keep a live reading of the amount of energy you use.
But many people wonder how often that information is sent to the electric company.
Smart meters send readings at least on a monthly basis. However, you can request readings be sent more often, if preferred. For billing purposes, electric companies may send readings more frequently than the monthly standard to ensure an accurate number.
In this article, I’ll explain more about how often smart meters send readings to help you find the best time interval for you.
I’ll also discuss some additional benefits of using smart meters and why smart meters are yet to be available everywhere.
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3 Common Times To Send Smart Meter Readings
Smart meters give the customer a unique opportunity to have their electric usage data read in other intervals.
Different intervals can have different benefits based on personal preferences and electric usage.
Monthly Readings Are Typically the Average
Smart meters can cost you money depending on how often you want them read.
But most energy companies will install them for free because it is easier for them to use.
Traditionally, readings are sent to the electric company once a month.
This is similar to how it was done before smart meters, as electric companies would send workers out monthly to read each customer’s meter.
Today, smart meters pull from a satellite and that data is transmitted digitally which helps save money.
How often that information is sent to the electric company won’t affect the monthly charge.
However, getting that information can be costly for electric companies.
Therefore, extra charges may incur for meter readings more frequently than the monthly standard.
Because of this, many people choose to have their meter read once a month. This is the traditional way, and it’s also cheaper.
Readings Can Be Sent Daily
Sending daily readings ensures the energy company gets a clear picture of data usage and has time to analyze it.
But what does that do for you?
For starters, it allows the electric company to see when you’re more likely to use energy. With this information, they can better track your habits.
From there, the electric company can send you offers for using electricity outside of peak hours.
That can save you money for just being home at the right time.
Electric companies are looking into rewarding customers who use their energy outside of peak hours.
They do this because it’s difficult to keep up with the energy demands of peak hours throughout the day.
So, by offering rewards and savings, power companies make it easier on themselves during those times.
Some electric companies have already started offering lower rates to customers who use energy outside of peak hours.
To see which rates you may be eligible for, have your electric company read your energy use daily.
For instance, some companies offer customers a deal for cheaper energy options between 9 PM and 4 AM.
Rewards and savings would be especially beneficial for people awake and active during these hours.
The Most Frequent Readings Are Hourly
Hourly readings come with a lot of the same benefits as daily readings. But there’s another difference to consider.
If the electric company is getting hourly readings of power usage, they can determine power outages without customer assistance.
Gone are the days of waiting on hold to report an outage in the area.
Hourly readings will let the electric company know that the power is out to start working on a solution.
This is also beneficial for people who aren’t home all day.
It’s hard to report an outage you don’t know about yet. And coming home to the power out can be a hassle.
So, sending hourly updates can help the electric company work faster to get the power back on before any person reports the problem.
Beyond helping with power outages, hourly updates provide the power company even more detail about normal daily activities.
The data will help them figure out your personal patterns and find times to give you discounts.
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Benefits of Using a Smart Meter
Not only is there a chance for a lower bill every month, smart meters allow you to track your own activity.
You’ll be able to see how much money you’re spending every month.
This is also broken down further to know how much energy you’re using throughout the day.
Many companies that use smart meters allow customers to see their own usage reading.
This helps you keep tabs on when you use the most energy and how to cut costs.
For example, you can look at your activity and notice how much money leaving your television on at night is costing you.
From there, many people have the ability to make decisions that can help lower their bills every month.
Too often, energy bills are a surprise. We can estimate l cost based on the previous month, but there’s no way to know for sure.
Smart readers help you stay in the know.
You can track your usage and figure out what is costing you the most money. For those who are trying to stay on a budget, a smart meter can be helpful.
Smart meters also benefit energy companies.
Before smart meters, electric companies had to send workers out to each home in order to check meters.
This was costing companies a lot of money, as they had to pay workers to be out of the office and cover any issues that happened with employees on the road.
Now, smart meters allow electric companies to save money by avoiding all that travel, but that’s not the only benefit.
With smart meters, electric companies can track usage a lot better.
This means that they can more easily predict high traffic times and be better prepared for them.
If the company knows when to expect more customers using their electricity, they can be better prepared for these times.
They can also use this knowledge to help encourage customers to use their electricity at different times.
By doing this, it allows the company to provide better service during busier times.
So, not only can a smart meter help electric companies save money, but it can help you get better service.
Are Smart Meters Required?
Smart meters aren’t required everywhere, and many places that promote them don’t make them mandatory. Some states do require the use of smart meters, but in most places, customers still get to choose between a smart meter or a traditional meter.
Smart meters read your electric data all day. This means that your electric company knows when you’re home or away.
But the knowledge doesn’t necessarily end there.
Almost everything we do at home uses electricity.
Many homeowners don’t like the idea of their electric company knowing when they’re home and when they aren’t.
This risk comes with most technology as you can be tracked via location settings on your smartphone or GPS.
So, companies knowing when you’re and aren’t home isn’t really anything new.
However, this does often make people hesitant to try new technology. Some customers don’t like the idea of having their activity tracked all the time.
If you’re concerned about this, then you may wish to avoid a smart meter, if possible.
Whether you choose for them to read it monthly or more often, smart meters are a great technology to help track how much energy you’re using.
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