Thursday, June 4, 2009

GREEN LIVING CASE STUDY: Smart Meters Are Coming to a Home Near You

Smart MeterImage by Tom Raftery via Flickr

Smart Meters Are Coming to a Home Near You by Olivia K Wilson

The UK government wants to replace current utility meters, as modern technology has meant that new 'smart' meters can bring huge and beneficial changes for consumers in reduced bills and household energy usage. This will also help the British government reach its energy targets.

The smart meters are currently being installed across the country with the government setting ambitious targets for the installation of smart energy meters in every home in the UK by 2020.

The smart meters will offer two-way communications, which will bring a number of advantages for both companies and consumers. Consumers will be able to monitor exactly what energy they are using without having to wait three to six months to find out how expensive their bill will be. Ongoing monitoring allows customers to see what they are spending whenever they want so they can take measures to reduce their energy consumption.

These meters will also mean consumers only pay accurate bills and no longer overpay when paying bills on estimated bills. The energy companies will save money if they don't have to employ people to read meters, which they will hopefully pass on to customers in price cuts. It also means that some of us will no longer be disturbed in the evening and have to rummage around the cupboard with a torch to see the meter!

As consumers can track their usage at any time they can check the usage of energy for household appliances such as a washing machine or tumble dryer. This will allow them to identify any old appliances that are using too much energy and then calculate whether it's worth replacing them to save money in the long term.

An average of 2.5 million households will need to have smart meters installed each year to meet the government's target, so if you live in a large city you will probably receive news on an installation sooner than other people in the country or will see more press coverage as the roll-out goes forward.

Home owners can use a comparison service to see if and when these smart meters will become available in their area. Installation is likely to be free as the meters will become compulsory and energy providers will be able to recoup the investment through reduced costs of running their service.

Olivia has 2 years experience writing articles about smart meters.

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