The state of Texas is at the forefront in the deployment of Advanced Metering technology, or what people refer to now as smart meters. The "smart" in advanced meters is the real-time communication and interaction between customers and their Texas electricity utility. This opens up a whole new world of benefits for the consumers with the power to select electric options.
In summary, what advanced metering systems do is to help consumers take better control of their Texas electricity usage, lower their bills and reduce their impact on the environment. On the other side of distribution channel, Texas electric companies can better manage and operate the power grid with automated features and real-time electricity usage analyses unlike the old grid where many processes are still performed manually.
The Benefits of Advanced Metering Systems
The following discusses the benefits of advanced metering systems in further detail, both from the consumer side and the Texas electric utility side.
Increased Usage Control the real time feedback that consumers can get from the smart grid give them better control of their electric usage. With better control of their usage come lower Texas electricity bills. On top of that, reduced or more controlled usage will also reduce the amount of harmful emissions and thus contribute in the protection of the environment.
Automated Systems Unlike the old grid, advanced metering systems will provide greater automation for the new Texas electricity grid. Manual meter readings will be a thing of the past and so will inaccurate billing. In a deregulated electricity market such as in Texas, consumers can easily and more swiftly switch from one Retail Electric Provider to another. This will also prompt the Texas electricity suppliers to provide better services and more innovative products
Better Grid Maintenance The real-time feedback that smart meters give provide Texas electricity utility companies a better maintenance and monitoring system for the grid. Problems with the electric supply can easily be detected and addressed by the companies. There will also be lesser need for Texas electric companies to routinely check the grid, providing increased safety for employees and better privacy for consumers.
A Modern Texas Electricity Grid Advanced metering systems will also allow the use of gadgets, tools, and other home appliances with "smart" capabilities to be used in homes and offices. Usage settings can be adjusted automatically and will also allow scheduled reduction during peak grid load.
Greener Options Aside from reduced emissions due to the reduction of electricity usage during peak hours, advanced metering systems also enable proper integration of Texas electricity supplies coming from renewable energy resources into the main grid.
Advanced Metering System Deployment in Texas
As of August 15, 2011, there are over 3.6 million advanced metering units installed in the state of Texas, delivering real-time feedback and control for Texas electricity consumers and utility companies. Texas electric companies that are already ahead in the deployment race are already registering over 69% deployment among their users, while other companies have also initiated deployment now.
A Texas electricity consumer that has already been hooked up with a smart meter can monitor their usage data using a separate In Home Device (IHD) that will be provided. This set-up will also open up the influx of innovative products from Retail Electric Providers such as energy monitoring services, pricing schemes based on time of use, and the possibility of pre-paid systems for transient consumers.
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