Smart meters have been touted as one of the biggest developments in electricity supply since we first started using electric lights more than a century ago. But what are they, and how do they work?
Put simply, a smart meter is a digital meter located at your home or business that measures the amount of electricity you’re using, almost in real-time.
Unlike a traditional electricity meter, a smart meter digitally reads and stores data about electricity usage over short intervals, typically every 30 minutes, and then remotely sends it to energy distributors and retailers every day. Smart meters allow two-way communication between the meter and the central system.
We can then pass this information on to the consumer, providing some real-time energy data to inform your energy usage.
Smart meter technology will help you to remotely switch off your appliances before you arrive home so your house can be cool in summer and warm in winter.
So what makes smart meters so smart?
Smart meters are a game-changer. They have the potential to change the relationship we have with energy.
No longer is it a passive relationship in which a consumer gets their quarterly bill after they’ve used the energy. It can now be an active relationship in which the consumer can access almost real-time information generated by their smart meter about their energy consumption and better understand their usage.
Smart meters offer many options and capabilities that are not possible with traditional meters; remote connection when you move house, and improved fault detection to help networks restore power more quickly after an outage, make them revolutionary.
The potential is amplified when smart meters are combined with other emerging digital technology in the electricity grid, creating what is sometimes referred to as a smart grid. Being able to remotely turn on your appliances so your home is warm and welcoming when you arrive was once only the stuff of sci-fi. Now it’s reality.
Benefits of a smart meter
If you’re located in Victoria, you may already have a smart meter. They were installed by your distributor around 6 years ago. If you’re in other Australian states, you’re not required to have a smart meter unless you’re building a new property or your meter needs replacing, is faulty, or aging. In these cases, the meter that will be installed will be smart meter and the installation will be arranged by your electricity retailer – that’s where we come in.
Once you have one, you can:
- have accurate, remote meter reads. That means your bill won’t be based on an estimate and you won’t have meter readers visiting your property.
- choose to take up monthly billing: would monthly rather than quarterly electricity bills help you with your family budget? Simply give us a call and we’ll change your billing frequency.
- monitor your usage: you can track your electricity usage online via My Account or the Origin app.
- take up new products: with a smart meter you can take up products such as Origin’s Predictable Plan.
For more information on smart meters, check out these FAQs.