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Smart Metering Explained: The Changing Face of Utility Providers

Posted on Jun 29, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Homes across North America rely on energy to properly function 24 hours a day, and how utility companies are tracking that energy and communicating with their clients has dramatically transformed.

Smart metering gives consumers a chance for lower bills, improved accurate reporting of data, and creates the opportunity for utility companies to send automated notifications to consumers who experience unusually high usage. The end result? A happier customer. 

The surge in smart meters can no longer be ignored. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), electric utility companies in the US had about 71 million advanced smart metering infrastructure installations in 2016 - with about 88 per cent of those being residential customer installations.

The same body found that installations of smart meters have more than doubled since 2010, with almost half of all US electricity customer accounts now possessing smart meters. The 71 million smart meters installed by the end of 2016 covers around 47 per cent of the 150 million electricity customers in the United States.

What is smart metering?

Through the use of smart metering, utility companies are able to move away from the conventional analogue meter, which is read manually. Smart meters provide quick and accurate measurements of a utility customer’s usage, which can be viewed in real-time by both the customer and the utility provider.

A smart meter works by recording the energy usage of a customer, and then sending that data to both the utility provider and a smart energy display in a customer’s home. Customers will have easier access to this data and can use this information to help them save money.

Smart meters can provide continuous and rapid updates, with usage comparisons to previous days, weeks or months to help the customer analyse their utility usage. Smart meters can be installed for all of gas, electricity and water.

What are the benefits?

Smart meters hold benefits for everyone. Customer’s will know what they’re spending each day and how that compares to previous usage, and utility providers will receive that data and take readings remotely to help keep their customers bills accurate - meaning customer’s only pay for what they use.

Not only does it create a better dialogue between utility provider and customer, but it also helps protect the environment and save both parties money - a win-win. Here are some key benefits.

Advantages for utility providers:

  • Enhanced communication with utility customers.
  • The ability to send real-time notifications to customers who experience unusual or high utility usage.
  • Accurate and easy tracking of utility usage.
  • Offer price plan comparison tools so customers can choose the right plan for their usage.

Advantages for end-consumers:

  • Predicted billing.
  • Receive automated notifications for high usage.
  • Real-time data for cost savings.
  • No more estimated readings - customers are only charged for what they consume.
  • More informed decisions about how they use their utilities.
  • Reduced carbon footprint.

SilverBlaze makes smart metering easy

The SilverBlaze Smart Meter module helps to improve a utility provider’s customer experience, helping the utility provider to achieve higher revenue. The module allows the utility company to notify its customers in real-time of unusual or high-usage, allowing customers to make adjustments to their energy habits so that they stay in control and avoid additional costs.

Customers want to be in full control of their utility bills, just like every other aspect of their life. Our Smart Meter module allows them to compare and contrast the process of different billing plans based on their usage, all at the swipe of a button on their preferred device.

Ultimately, smart meters will lead to a customer that is more engaged with their utility provider and who is happier with the service they are being offered.

Learn more about the SilverBlaze Smart Meter module, and contact us today!

Topics: Smart Metering