What is a Smart Meter?
At first glance, you might not notice much of a difference between your current electrical meter and your new Smart Meter. But inside, your Smart Meter is hard at work using advanced technology to identify and analyze data about your home’s energy consumption. These meters then communicate this data between your home and BGE via a secured network.
BGE began installing these advanced meters back in 2012, and they’re slated to finish rolling them out to every home and small business in their service area by 2015. Smart Meters can do some pretty amazing things, including:
- Help you track and budget your energy use
- Give you personalized energy efficiency tips
- Show you peak event reports and savings summaries
- Provide peak event web notifications
- Give you access to smart energy pricing programs
How do Smart Meters work?
You may already be used to your home’s existing electrical meter, which keeps an ongoing record of your home’s energy use and must be read by the power company each month so you can be billed appropriately. A Smart Meter, on the other hand, allows for two-way communication between the meter and BGE via a wireless network—a crucial point for building a reliable smart grid.
When you first get your new Smart Meter, you may notice that it seems to function just like your old one, without any of the supposed benefits of installation. This will be true at first, but over time, you’ll be able to experience everything the Smart Meter has to offer.
Best of all, Smart Meters have been thoroughly tested for safety and reliability. These meters are already in use across the country, and they have undergone extensive testing by other utility companies. Smart Meters operate at a level that is much lower (1.4%) than the maximum permissible exposure limits for radio frequency, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission. Smart Meters transmit for an average of about two minutes a day.
So how do you get your Smart Meter?
BGE will be installing Smart Meters throughout 2014. During that time, every BGE electric customer will receive one for their home. The utility provider will upgrade existing gas meters during this time period as well.
Several weeks before BGE begins installing Smart Meters in your community, you will begin seeing notifications in various forms, including ads in your local paper, materials at your neighborhood library or grocery store and booths at community festivals. A few weeks prior to installation, you will receive a letter in the mail informing you of when your new meter will be installed, or, if your meter is inside your home, providing you with instructions on how to schedule an appointment. For outdoor meters, you do not need to be present for installation. We’ll leave behind a door hanger to confirm that a new meter was installed.
Once your meter is installed, you’ll be granted access to BGE Smart Energy Manager, which will provide you with the tools necessary to better understand how you use your energy, and how to better save energy and reduce your bills.