Smart Meter Benefits for Utilities
Analogue meters effectively only allowed for once-a-month readings which provided no value for current cycle payments and only limited value for future cycle payments. With smart meters, utilities can now predict and model cash flow scenarios throughout the month based on real-time usage.
Real-time billing information allows utilities to implement dynamic pricing and demand response programs. The former gives customers more control over their electricity bill while the latter is a great resource to keep the distribution grid stable, not to mention reduce generation costs for the service provider.
Because smart meters are capable of providing more information that is available to consumers about their electricity usage, consumers can now identify when their usage peaks during a given day. Utilities can help the customer identify load peaks that substantiate the electricity bill thereby reducing concerns or complaints.
Increased System Awareness
Utilities can use smart meters to instantly detect an outage or a fault, as well as confirm total power restoration. When information is sent regularly throughout the day and every day, utilities can process the data to find load trends associate with peaking which inform decisions about where to build out future infrastructure.
Increased system awareness not only allows utilities to more effectively address issues related to quantity, but quality as well. Smart meters are capable of detecting and transmitting signals related to power quality. For example, smart meters can detect voltage levels and provide a reading when high or low.
Smart meters allow utilities to analyze usage habits for each individual customer. While this is less significant for residential buildings, commercial and industrial facilities' consumption has a material impact on grid operations. This data could help to influence rate negotiations.
Because smart meters are fully digitized, workers do not need to physically access them in order to obtain a reading. This represents significant cost savings for utilitieswho can deploy these human resources for other tasks and reduce hiring needs.
Utilities can also achieve cost savings through use of smart meters by optimizing use of existing resources. The real-time information transmitted by smart meters allows utilities to make fully informed decisions about where to deploy assets, particularly when
distributed energy resources are in play. Increased load doesn't necessarily mean increased infrastructure is necessary and smart meters help utilities know when this is the case.