The advantages of a ‘smart’ meter
The old-fashioned meters outside businesses and homes gave very little feedback about energy use. The first thing most businesses knew about their energy usage was when the bill landed on their doorstep.
‘Smart’ meters, however, are the new generation of meters being used by energy companies. Every 30 minutes a record your electricity consumption data and at various points in the day send this data back to your energy retailer.
This has a number of benefits for businesses:
- Businesses with smart meters installed can get very detailed online reporting about their energy use. This breaks down how much energy a company has been using and allows them to compare that figure with a previous period.
- When a smart meter is linked to a wireless display, businesses can get real-time feedback about the amount of energy they’re using.
- Businesses with smart meters that are not linked to in-house displays can still get usage and consumption alerts and an email report midway through their billing cycle that provides a projected bill.
In NSW a customer can request to move on to a ToU (time-of-use)1 tariff and a smart meter will be installed. In addition to providing you with quality information about your energy use, they can also alert you to faults in your electricity supply.
Smart meters and your energy bills
When households have been given the ability to actively monitor their energy use, reductions of up to 8% have been recorded2. One of the reasons for this is that people can make better informed decisions about the periods when they use energy. You can do the same in your business.
In a submission about smart meters to the NSW Government, Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE)3 stated that energy-aware customers with smart meters are more likely to:
- discover and respond to their own inefficiencies in power use
- discover and respond to inappropriately high levels of standby power use
- monitor and recognise the energy generated by solar panels
- be able to identify and effectively respond to billing errors
- identify immediately when new electrical devices consume less energy
- respond more quickly to abnormal energy-use situations which could be a sign of dangerous conditions.
Want to monitor your electricity, gas and solar energy?
If you want a more sophisticated energy monitoring system, the Australian developed Enviroview Energy Monitor system enables small to medium businesses to accurately measure and manage their electricity, gas, water and solar usage. It can do this in real time and in multiple locations across your business and provides the information in a well-designed online graphic interface.