We now live in a world driven by access to instant information. In fact, it is estimated that as of January 2018 roughly 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, including 77 percent of Americans owning smartphones. If you own a smartphone, you likely receive numerous notifications ranging from missed calls, texts, email messages, social media posts, meeting reminders, news alerts, and scoring updates from your favorite team. However, have you ever received a notification of high energy prices? What if you could receive a notification that your real-time energy usage was high, with a recommendation to adjust your thermostat to save money on your electric bill? Additionally, what if you had the ability to act on that notification and use your smartphone to adjust your thermostat from anywhere in the world? If you are interested in real-time control over your energy consumption, you will likely have access to this technology in the near future.
The number of smart electric meters installed in homes, businesses and farms is growing rapidly, reaching nearly half of all U.S. electricity consumers by the end of 2016. While there are a variety of smart meters available, smart electric meters are commonly classified as either Automated Meter Reading (AMR) or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) equipment. AMR meters only transmit information in one direction from the smart meter to the utility and are primarily used to collect usage data for billing purposes. In comparison, AMI meters provide two-way interaction of real time electric usage data to both the utility and the consumer. AMI meters are used for more than just billing, by providing real time energy consumption data and allowing consumers and/or utilities the ability to control electric loads and shift non-essential loads to non-peak times.
View the complete blog article for more information on smart meters, including a list of additional resources.
Eric Romich is an Assistant Professor & Extension Field Specialist for Energy Development with OSU Extension.