Smart Hydro MetersWe have a smart hydro meters installed on our neighborhood. This meter records the amount of power we use every hour and then reports this usage to the company that provides the electricity to consumers in our area. We are billed on the amount of electricity we consume during the day and evening at different rates. During the daytime, we are on a peak rate level. In the early morning and early evening, we are on mid-peak rate, while at night we are on an off-peak rate. The difference in rates between peak and off-peak can be almost half price. The utility in our area has gone this route to encourage consumers to reduce energy use and reduce their electricity bills. Most people now will cook in the evening, dry their clothes in the dryer, etc during off-peak time frames.

Problems with Smart Hydro Meters

This summer we found that our meter was not reporting the usage to the company providing our electricity properly. We were notified that it had to be changed. This change took a few months to implement. Not sure if it is red tape or they are just too busy. However, it was over these summer months when usage is at the highest level for air conditioning and pool pumps. We decided we would continue to practice energy reduction techniques during the summertime much as we normally do. It turns out that this was a good approach to take.

Turns out that although the meter was not reporting the usage to the company, it was still recording our usage. When the meter was replaced, they took it into the lab and downloaded the usage of their computers. They were then able to reconstruct the billing for us and sent us a new bill.

We had been billed up to that point as if our usage was all on the low peak rate. Which of course is to our advantage. This is not to be expected in the long run. We were reassessed. Over a 3 month period, we had consumed an additional $421 dollars of electricity. We now had a bill for this much usage.

We are now challenging this bill to make sure that they calculated the amount correctly, however, I am prepared to pay the electricity as calculated, since we probably used it.

The reason for this post is to point out to reads a couple of things about smart meters:

  • Be aware that they record the results all of the time even if they do not report the results
  • You will get a bill eventually for the proper amount of electricity
  • Practice energy reduction techniques all of the time
  • Challenge your utility to demonstrate how they calculated the final invoice

Smart Hydro Meters and Energy Reduction Techniques

We know couples who do not shift their energy consumption at all and pay a lot higher electricity bills than we do. In one case they were not even aware that this information was available to them. We feel that having this information gives you the power to know when to use electricity and when not to. You can choose to use electricity at high rates or at low rates. Regardless it all comes out of your paycheck and I would rather have more to go around from my paycheck for other things than spend it all on electricity.

The smart meter gives you all of this information and you can log onto the website for your company to review how you are using electricity. On this website, we have discussed lots of steps to take to reduce electricity usage. The smart meter provides one more opportunity to manage and control this rather large cost. Check out some of our other pages about specific steps to reduce electricity and to reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summertime. These ideas may not apply to everyone or are of interest; however, some are quite easy to consider and implement. They can literally save you hundreds of dollars a year or more.

Thanks for reading about smart hydrometers and send us your comments on ideas to reduce energy costs around the home.