We’re living through a period of rapid technological acceleration. As technology continues to improve, it continuously reshapes the way that companies operate. One great example of this is the usage of real-time digital consumption (smart) meters in the utility industry.
There are nearly 100 million smart meters in the United States today. That’s a number that should only grow with time.
But what are real-time digital consumption meters? And why are utility companies using more and more of them? Keep reading to discover the answers to those questions and more information about how smart meters compare to traditional options.
What are real-time digital consumption meters?
To understand what makes digital consumption meters special, we first need to review how traditional meters work. Utility companies use meters to track the amount of power that a home has used in a given period of time. But in order to measure this, the utility provider has to send out a technician to manually read the meter. As you can imagine, this can be very time-consuming.
That’s why real-time digital consumption meters have become so popular. They allow a utility company to measure a home’s power usage automatically and practically instantly.
Smart meters work by transmitting the information they track directly to the utility company that has installed them. They typically share data through radio frequency transmissions.
Are they better for utility companies?
Smart meters are becoming more popular, not less. This is a good indication that many utility companies prefer them to traditional meters. There are a few good reasons for that.
Digital consumption meters provide utility companies with the following benefits:
- Eliminate the need for manual monthly meter readings
- Provides real-time information about the electrical grid
- Makes dynamic pricing models easier to use
- Helps to optimize the profitability of existing resources
There are some drawbacks to digital consumption meters that are worth considering for utility providers. For example, these companies usually do have to spend a bit more upfront to install the new meters and train their staff on how to use them. But costs like these will pay off down the line since smart meters are cheaper to operate and help utility providers save money over a long time period.
What are the pros and cons of digital meters for consumers?
It’s also worth taking some time to consider the impact that smart meters have on utility consumers. There are several that are worth exploring.
Real-time digital consumption meters provide consumers with more detailed feedback on their energy use. This enables them to identify costly habits and change them to save on their utility costs.
Additionally, power companies use digital meters to gather data, which helps them operate the electrical grid more effectively. This is a positive to consumers, as the practice makes blackouts and other electrical failures less common occurrences.
But digital meters also have some drawbacks for consumers. Electrical companies usually charge additional fees when they’re installed. Additionally, some consumers will be wary about having their data collected continuously by a large utility provider. A consumer may also have more of a maintenance burden when using a smart meter rather than a traditional one.
Digital consumption meters help utility providers prepare for the future
On the whole, real-time digital consumption meters seem to be the future for the utility industry. The benefits that they provide far outweigh the cons over a long period of time. So we should see more and more utility companies embracing smart meters as time goes on.
If you’re interested in preparing your utility company for the future, then investing in digital consumption meters is a great start. But there are other strategies you may want to look into as well.
For example, modernizing your utility website or mobile app can do wonders for your customer satisfaction. Onsharp can help you do that. We have a wide breadth of experience with this type of work and would love to tell you more about what we can do to help your utility company prepare itself for the future.
If you’d like to learn more about how Onsharp can help, reach out to us to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you.