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.
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.