“Smart grid” generally refers to a class of technology that people are using to bring utility companies delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote, control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing that has been used for decades in other industries. They are beginning to be used on electricity networks, from the power plants and wind farms all the way to the consumers of electricity in homes and businesses. They offer many benefits to utilities and consumers -- mostly seen in big improvements in energy efficiency on the electricity grid and in the energy users’ homes and offices.
Since 1882, utility companies have had to send operatives out to gather much of the required data needed to provide electricity. The operatives read meters, looked for broken/damage equipment and measured voltages, Most of the devices utilities use to deliver electricity have yet to be automated and computerized. Now, many options and products are being made available to the electricity industry to modernize it.
A smart grid means “computerizing” the electric power grid. It includes adding two-way digital communication technology to devices associated with the grid.
Smart meters are electric, gas or water meters – that record real time use of power, then report back to the utility central system, both for billing and resource purposes.
A smart meter works by communicating directly with your energy supplier, so the company will always have an accurate meter reading and there's no need for you to take a meter reading yourself.
Smart meters can work in a variety of different ways, including using wireless mobile phone type technology to send data.
Below are the main benefits to smart meters:
- More accurate bills — smart meters mean the end of estimated bills, and the end of overpaying (or underpaying) for your energy
- No one has to come to your home to read your meter; you do not have to submit meter readings yourself
- Better oversight and management of your energy use with a real-time data display in your home