The benefits a smart meter cannot be accurately quantified, as it is too numerous to just mention in one article. However, the effect of using smart meter is seen almost immediately and will increase over time. They are listed below
Billing Accuracy– The smart meter has the capacity to give you the correct consumption rate, pattern, and even monthly bills, either via sms or email. The smart meters are so intelligent, in that it knows when the cycle is complete and sends the bill for the month to even your regular phone. The smart meter also sends information to your energy supplier on how much energy you have used, mostly record and reference purposes.
Faster Meter Reading – The electricity/gas provider does not necessarily have to come to your houses physically, to take the reading. The smart meter automatically sends the reading to the supplier or a more technological device like the "Hand Held Device Unit" (HHU) can be used to capture reading from a distance of the house where the meter is installed. The energy supplier may also still visit occasionally for a routine safety check.
Meter Migration : With a smart meter, one can choose to change from a prepayment metering platform to post payment metering plans or platforms and vice versa, without necessarily installing a new meter.
Easy Top Up; For users of prepaid meters, it is easier to top up your smart meter. The electricity/gas suppliers are expected to take full advantage of the smartness of the meter by creating customer friendly top up/ payment platforms. These could be done online, over the phone or with a mobile phone app.
Monitoring consumption pattern and History – Smart meters have small LCD/screens which shows how much energy you have used and how much consumption is taking place per time, eg previous week, previous month etc, a consumer can keep track of his/her energy usage and plan properly for future consumption easily.
Cost Effective/Reflective : The smart meter can show in very clear figures, what appliance has been consuming the most of your electricity. In some instances, it might even advice you on how to reduce the load to manage consumption and save cost. With this function active, one may reduce energy usage, cut waste and save money.
Tariffs and rates specification : The smart meter can specify what tariffs is applied and the rates charged (if enabled) in some countries in Africa such like Nigeria, The residential tariff rate is different from the Industrial or commercial tariff rate and therefore, charges are relatively different even if the rate of consumption is same.
Tamper Reduction – Proper and neat installation of a smart meter can make it increasingly difficult to tamper with meters or steal energy. Energy theft is not totally strange to consumers, as it is a means of cutting cost but a smart meter makes it almost impossible to use electricity/gas and not pay.
Quicker Complaints Resolution – smart meters makes it easier and quicker to identify and fix the problems associated with energy supply. if the challenges are technical in nature, it can simply be checked on a test bench, to know its peculiarity and then fix the technicality momentarily. This means more convenience and less time without your energy supply.
To be continue......