Smart meters will change us

Published 9:05 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

Technology keeps giving advantages.

Most people in Selma have noticed Alabama Power workers installing something called Smart Meters. These are power meters that may be read remotely from an office.

It saves money both ways. The power company doesn’t need people to manually read meters. People can go online and check out their electricity usage.

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In addition the Smart Meter will notify the power company when a house or businesses has lost power and notify the company when power is restored.

While the technology is new to many in Selma, it has been the standard in many European countries and in Japan for several years.

For example, in Italy, that country’s 27 million power customers have had smart meters since 2005. The meters measure power usage and can even remotely turn power on or off to a customer. It also checks unauthorized use of electricity.

One of the benefits to the Smart Meter is the control the meters give consumers over energy consumption.

The Alabama Power website says once the program is installed the company will be able to offer rate options that meet individual lifestyles to manage energy.

In Texas, this already happens. TXU Energy has a time-of-use plan in place for customers who sign a two-year contract. Here’s how it works: from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., the peak hours during summer, customers pay a premium of more than 20 cents per kwh. But the off-peak times, customers can lock in a 9-cent per kwh rate.

Whether you like the idea of the smart meter or not; one thing’s for certain: Our ways of energy consumption will change as the innovations continue.