Smart Meter Pilot Nets Positive Results

CenterPoint Energy, Houston Electric and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman released survey results recently from an energy-saving program begun last fall. The program entailed a smart meter in home display installed into people’s homes that tracked and displayed the details of their energy use. This is said to have prompted 71% of the 500 participants, according to the survey, to change their energy-use habits to more efficient ones.

Smart meters like the ones in Houston are helping customers use energy more efficiently, and smart grid technology is allowing both consumers and providers to monitor energy use and make any necessary adjustments and modernize the electric infrastructure. The results of the survey show that programs like the smart meter, which provide up-to-the-minute data, perhaps really can make a difference. According to the survey, 83% of respondents said they began turning off lights when not in the room, and 51% reported adjusting their thermostats to use less energy. Additionally, 93% said that they liked their in-home displays, and 97% said they planned to continue using it.

Image via CenterPoint Energy

Image via CenterPoint Energy

The meters are also read remotely, meaning that going house-to-house is unnecessary, cutting down on driving for electric company employees. It also makes reporting power outages happen more quickly. So far, about 1.5 million smart meters have been installed by CenterPoint Energy in the area’s 2.2 million meter system, and plans are in place to complete installation by mid-2012.

Interestingly, CenterPoint has more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The success of this pilot, and what one can only assume will be the eventual roll out of smart meters to those outside of the Texas area, probably will ultimately provide the company, and its end users, significant energy savings in the long term.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.

    • Inside Nine

      By the way that story came out 6 weeks ago as part of the energy department’s push to change the vast majority of people into liking the poorly conceived and extremely unpopular program. I guess you guys need to repeat it and try to gain some support.nnIt also bears repeating that according to Dr. Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy scientist in the U.S. Smart Meters turn out to provide roughly 100 times more cumulative radiofrequency exposure than your average cell phone. The frequency it puts out is deemed a class 2B carcinogen according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunately we humans will be the population that gets to find out exactly how bad they are! u00a0Its truly UNBELIEVABLE u00a0that our government is allowing corporate greed to trump health once again.

    • Abraham silverzweig

      Can smart meters be used in apartment house with 150 apartments, each of which are separately metered?