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Consumer Tip Monday, November 23, 2009

What is a Smart Meter?

Florida is a national leader in the installation of smart meters in residential neighborhoods.[1] What is a smart meter and what does it mean for you?

The new smart meters--also known as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)—help utility customers monitor their energy usage and increase the utility’s ability to identify and correct service issues through a sophisticated, interactive communications network. AMI is a key step toward future smart electricity grids, which are needed to make the electric system more efficient by better matching electricity production to use. AMI will also allow the system to integrate renewable energy from the sun, wind, and other sources and to route power around disruptions and congestion.

Smart meters can help customers save money on their monthly utility bills, too. Customers can go online and monitor how much energy they have used by month, week, day, or hour. Traditional analog meters, with their spinning disks and small dials, measured how much electricity a customer used in kilowatt hours. A utility meter reader had to record the usage monthly. Smart meters send information electronically, so meter readers won’t have to read smart meters. Utilities will be able to connect and disconnect power when customers move and also identify outages and restore power more quickly.

Different manufacturers produce smart meters with customer-specific functions. If you want more information, please contact your utility company.

[1] Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering report, December 2008

How to read your 
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