What is a smart meter?


What is a smart meter?

  • A smart meter is a digital device that measures energy consumption within a home or business and automatically communicates that data to the public utility.

  • A smart meter provides far more frequent readings than traditional meters, enabling utilities to get a real-time view of power consumption across the grid.

Many municipal utilities have been rolling out smart meter technology to homes and businesses in order to improve service to customers and to manage energy resources more efficiently. But what is a smart meter exactly, and how can it help to reduce costs or improve the way that utilities deliver power to users? This brief introduction, “What is a smart meter?”, provides a quick overview of this technology and the benefits to cities and citizens.

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a kind of advanced technology that measures electric usage more frequently than conventional meters and enables two-way communication between the meter and the electric utility. A smart meter is part of the smart city initiatives that use advanced technology, data and analytics to improve the quality of services and quality of life for citizens. Other types of smart city technology include smart lighting, smart traffic lights, smart waste management and other initiatives.

What is a smart meter designed to do?

A smart meter is designed to provide electric utilities with more frequent updates on power usage from homes and businesses, enabling the utility to better manage the supply and demand of electricity.

What is a smart meter vs. a smart grid?

While a smart meter uses a single sensor to measure the consumption of power at an individual location, a smart grid connects thousands or millions of sensors within homes and businesses with sensors on substations, transformers and power transmission lines to get a real-time view of how well the energy grid is performing, where problems are occurring and how they can be resolved or worked around.

What is smart meter technology?

Smart meter technology includes a digital device to measure power consumption and communication capabilities that enable the meter to communicate with the electric utility. Communication may be over Internet, cell and pager networks, satellite, licensed radio waves, or wireless networks.

What is a smart meter’s benefit to cities?

Smart meters enable electric utilities to:

  • Get real-time information about electricity usage from every home and business.

  • Avoid the cost of sending meter readers out into the community.

  • Identify and respond more quickly to outages.

  • Plan for and deliver energy to consumers more efficiently and cost-effectively.

What is a smart meter’s benefit to consumers?

Smart meters enable consumers to:

  • Be billed for the exact amount of power they use, rather than receiving estimated bills.

  • Gain a clearer understanding of how they are using electricity throughout the day.

  • Enable service to be restored more quickly after a power outage.

  • Potentially save on electric bills by shifting power usage to different times of day when the cost of energy is lower.

What is a smart meter program supported by Spectrum Enterprise?

Spectrum Enterprise provides the connectivity solutions that smart city technology requires to connect vast numbers of sensors and transmit the data they produce to analytics platforms. With a two-way, fully interactive digital network that delivers symmetric Internet speeds of up to 100 Gbps, Spectrum enables municipalities to easily embrace the potential of smart cities technology like smart meter programs, smart water management and smart traffic systems. Spectrum also has one of the largest LTE cellular networks in the nation and provides hundreds of thousands of WiFi hotspots throughout the country that will soon be capable of delivering wireless speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

Learn more about Spectrum Smart Cities at www.spectrumsmartcities.com.