Smart meters: The Institute for Electric Innovation’s (IEI’s) new report, “Electric Company Smart Meter Deployments: Foundation for a Smart Grid,” examines how electric companies are using smart meter data to improve energy grid operations and increase benefits to customers.
“The increased use of smart meter technology has created a new standard for grid operations – providing data that enables electric companies to integrate distributed energy resources, improve reliability, increase resiliency, and provide more services to customers than ever before,” said IEI Executive Director Lisa Wood. “Smart meters give customers a deeper understanding of energy consumption by providing high usage alerts and the ability to access and view energy use information, further opening the door to more transparent communication between customers and their energy providers.”
As of the end of 2015, electric companies had installed 65 million smart meters – covering more than half of all households in the United States. By the end of 2016, smart meter deployments are projected to reach 70 million, representing an important component of the industry’s efforts to enhance the energy grid. Electric companies are projected to invest $32 billion in the distribution system in 2016 alone.
In addition to highlighting the increase in smart meter deployment in the United States, this report also explains how the technology associated with smart meters is benefiting customers. Smart meters:
• Accelerate grid modernization, as smart meter data can help to identify possible problems on the energy grid, enhance an energy company’s response to events, reduce service restoration times, and deliver reliability improvements to customers.
• Support continued integration of distributed energy resources as insights gained from data analytics allow energy companies to better understand the performance of private solar PV systems, smart appliances, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems while keeping pace with evolving customer expectations.
• Expand and enrich customer services including online access to energy usage information, budgeting tools, high usage alerts that can prevent expensive energy bills, and alerts for power outages and expected restoration times.
• Allow for innovative pricing options that reward customers for reducing energy consumption during designated periods when demand for electricity is high.
The Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation focuses on advancing the adoption and application of new technologies that will strengthen and transform the energy grid. IEI's members are the investor-owned electric companies that represent about 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. The membership is committed to an affordable, reliable, secure, and clean energy future.