Utility providers are in a constant battle to improve their customer experience (CX), enhance customer satisfaction, all while reducing costs, limiting wasted time and improving operational efficiencies. Thankfully, smart metering can help.
With residential homes and commercial businesses relying on their utilities to function 24 hours a day, utility companies now have a responsibility to track that usage and let their customers know how much they are consuming.
By doing so, 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 result? A happier customer, and better customer engagement.
That’s why the use of smart meters has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact, 115 million smart meters are expected to be deployed by the end of 2021 in the United States - that’s an increase of 108 million units compared to 2007
But what actually is smart metering, what are the benefits and how can your utility successfully implement a smart metering solution. SilverBlaze answers all those questions in this blog.
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 the consumer's home. With easy access to this data, customers can use the information to cut their energy consumption - saving money and reducing their carbon footprint.
Smart meters can provide continuous and rapid updates, with usage comparisons to previous days, weeks or months to help the customer analyze their utility usage over a specific period of time. Smart meters can be installed for all of gas, electricity and water.
Since utility usage is accurately logged and reported back to their utility provider in real-time, customers are only ever charged for what they actually use during their billing period.
In addition, utilities can use a customer portal solution to send alerts and notifications to their customers, providing them with real-time updates straight to their phone in regards to their usage, paperless billing, planned outages and much more.
A quick snapshot of the benefits of smart metering, for both utilities and their customers
Smart meters hold benefits for everyone. Customer’s will know what they’re spending each day and how that compares to previous usage. The 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
Smart metering benefits for the customer:
- 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
A deeper look at the benefits of smart metering for utility providers
Here are the top three benefits that a smart utility metering solution will bring your business:
1 - Improved customer satisfaction
Smart metering has a host of benefits for your utility’s customers. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the ability to send your customers visual charts, in real-time, of how much they are consuming. This will allow them to adjust their usage, save money and reduce their impact on the environment.
By empowering customers to track their energy usage, reduce their carbon footprint and lower the amount they spend on bills each month, your utility will be left with customers who are more satisfied and engaged with the service you offer.
2 - Accurate and easy tracking of utility usage
Smart meters send accurate information through to your utility in real-time, meaning by implementing meter reading software you’ll completely eliminate the need to make estimates. Not only will this improve customer satisfaction through accuracy, but it will also help your utility save money and time in the long run.
This should be an important part of your utility’s conservation and demand management strategy - improving your customer experience while saving you money and improving your efficiencies.
3 - Enhanced communications with utility customers
The on-demand economy means customers now want increased interaction with the companies they partner with, and utility providers are no different. The smart home trend is the perfect opportunity to enhance communication with your customer.
Through proactive communication tools such as notifications, alerts and an innovative customer portal, you can ensure your customers are receiving all of the data and information they need to have a superior customer experience.
Why your utility needs a smart metering customer portal module
A smart metering solution can help your utility realize significant benefits, but to truly get the most out of smart metering it’s crucial you implement a customer portal with a smart metering module.
The SilverBlaze Smart Metering module integrates smart metering data into one easy-to-use solution for customers. This means they can easily access their usage data, receive notifications when they are reaching their allocated usage amount (or are using more than usual) and pay their bills with a few simple clicks of a button.
Use smart metering to your advantage and become a utility partner for your customers. The smart metering customer portal module allows utilities 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 of their consumption and avoid additional costs.
By integrating a smart metering module into your utility metering solution strategy you’ll be able to ensure that your utility is able to deliver customer-centric experiences that delight your customers and strengthen their relationship with your organization.