What are Smart Meters?

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What are Smart Meters?

You’re probably already familiar with what an electricity meter is, but do you know about a smart meter?

This type of meter not only provides your electricity retailer with details of your household’s electricity usage, but it does so at regular half hour intervals. Doing so means that your electricity company no longer needs to provide an estimate of your household’s usage by referring to historical data! Instead, they are provided with the exact amount of power each month.

With a smart meter, more accurate invoices are provided each and every month!

Transmitting the Data Easily from the Smart Meter

The metering equipment provider transfers your usage details, as well as your Installation Control Point (ICP) number. Instead of using your address, the ICP identifies your connection point as a reference to your location on the grid network.

When your data is received by your retailer, your ICP number is matched to your account details. Your electricity usage is then easily recorded on your account.

Keeping Your Data Safe

There’s no need to worry about how your data’s protected when using a smart meter!

Not only is the data encrypted on its way to the retailer using the ICP number, but the Privacy Act 1993 and The Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 provide extra security.

Plus, meter data is only ever released to the authorized person on the account.

Addressing Your Health Concerns

Because smart meters use a frequency that’s lower than a cell phone or microwave, the amount of radiation emitted is well below New Zealand limits.

The signal is sent at only short periods of time and since smart meters are normally located outside your home, even less exposure occurs.

Tracking Tools Available

Interested in being able to see exactly how much power is being consumed in your household? Some electricity companies offer online tools that enable smart meter users to track their household’s power consumption.

This provides a great way to be able to implement cost-saving strategies for energy consumption!

Contact Switchme to Save Even More on Your Energy Bill!

Besides using a smart meter, have you considered changing energy suppliers to see if a lower-cost option is available? If so,Switchme makes researching these options easy!

As New Zealand’s largest non-government funded energy switching site, Switchme can be trusted to find you the best deal on your energy bill. By processing energy comparisons and giving free, independent advice, we help customers all the time save money.

Contact us today to learn how you, too, can start saving money on your energy costs!?

Why Smart Meters Are Used

There have been many articles written about smart electricity meters - some supporting the increase in technological function and some claiming they are a bad idea.

As a company that compares all New Zealand energy retailers and their differing methods of utilising smart meter technology, we can set the record straight.

Firstly they save money on meter readers. This means that the meter reader won't be visiting your house anymore… Instead your smart meter sends a signal to a metering company which then forwards this data to your electricity retailer. This ensures that the data sent is always accurate and free from human error.

What's more, the retailers can now have access to meter data at any time - not just once a month when the reader visits. Having access to your meter reading at any time means that retailers can start offering special deals at different times, even incentives for saving electricity at peak load times.

It is estimated that 5% of all homes in New Zealand are charged the wrong electricity tariff. This is because the national database (the Electricity Registry) doesn’t have the right information about your meter type. Installing smart meters means the electricity retailers check your meter type against the national database. Unfortunately for some people this results in an increase in electricity costs. Electricity retailers have offered to refund any overcharged tariffs and will write off any debt where the customer has been undercharged.

The truth about Smart Meters

A number of older houses have electricity meters on the inside. This means that you had to send your Meter Reader a key, or worse, you’d have most bills generated based on estimates. Installing smart meters means that your bills are more accurate, and your meter reader isn’t going to turn up unannounced.

Don't smart meters increase your usage? Non-smart meters are mechanical and naturally slow with age meaning that you get a cheaper bill. Smart meters are accurate and a newly installed smart meter may read higher by comparison to the slower meter.

Aren't smart meters are bad for your health? While conclusive studies haven't been conducted, a smart meter using radio or cell technology transmits no more than a modern smart phone. Different people will have different opinions, but there is no imminent health risk associated with having a smart meter.

Are they an invasion of privacy? No. Retailers are not using your data for any other reason than to generate your bill. The smart meter is not "smart" enough to know what appliances or rooms are operating, just a number of units used for the period.

Smart meters are a good thing - they are accurate, complaint with current Energy Industry specifications and give an increased amount of money-saving billing options to consumers.