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New Study Shows Digital “Smart” Meters on the Rise

Posted on Monday, June 11 2012

A new study shows that electric utilities are making steady progress in upgrading customers’ analog electric meters with digital “smart” meters.

Results from the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) report found that, as of May 2012, nearly one-in-three households now have a digital meter; this number has risen from one-in-four in September 2011 with IEE predicting that more than half of all households in the United States will have a smart meter by mid-decade.

“Our results show that electric utilities are committed to upgrading their customers’ meters as part of the industry’s overall goal to modernize the nation’s electric grid,” says IEE Executive Director Lisa Wood. “In parts of California and Texas, homeowners can go online to see how much electricity their home used in the previous day. This awareness prompts consumers to take steps to conserve.”

Aiding customers in conserving electricity and setting spending and usage goals, the new meters and online services will notify when usage is high. Helping consumers understand and make use of the data recorded and transmitted by smart peters is an objective of the White House’s Green Button Initiative.

“This is a voluntary industry effort to create a standard format for energy consumption data recorded by smart meters,” Wood says. “Today, about 10 million customers have access to their energy consumption data in the Green Button format.”

As of May 2012, 21 utilities and electric suppliers have committed to bringing the Green Button to 30 million customers. Wood and IEE predict 22 electric utilities in 16 sates will have smart meters installed system wide by the end of this year.

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