Friday, December 18, 2009

Smart Electricity Meters: Real Time Electricity Pricing

The vast majority of people are on fixed electricity meters, which simply measure how much electricity has been used. These are used by the utility company to calculate how much you owe them for the electricity you have consumed.

During the day there are peak times when many people are using a lot of electricity - for example, in the early evening when many lights, tv's, and computers are switched on, and ovens and kettles are being used to prepare meals. In the middle of the night demands drops right off.

A smart meter offers two way communication between the utility company (electricity supplier) and the consumer. When demand is high (and therefore wholesale electricity prices are very expensive) the utility company can pass high costs onto the consumer. When demand is low (and therefore wholesale electricity prices are very cheap) the utility company can pass savings to the consumer. This motivates consumers to use electricity when demand is least so that they can save money.

This video shows the 'In Home Energy Display' by General Electric

The use of smart meters will reduce overall carbon emissions (since thinking about electricity usage tends to make people reduce their overall consumption), and also reduce electricity bills for anyone who makes the effort to time their electricity usage - for example, running the washing machine or tumble drier at night rather than during the day, and turning the dish washer on just before going to bed rather than immediately after eating. (REUK.CO.UK)

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