Grid modernization: Monthly electric bills aren’t enough

March 24, 2023

The article, “Lewes BPW authorizes first step in modernizing power grid,” by Aaron R. Mushrush in the March 17 edition indicates Lewes is moving toward a smart grid with smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure. This is a very positive step forward. Unfortunately, smart meters are typically designed for the benefit of the utility, not the homeowner. As a homeowner, I have come to realize that having access to real-time power data is critical for managing my home's energy consumption. Monthly electric bills provide limited insight into energy usage, making it difficult to identify areas where energy is being wasted or used inefficiently. This is why it is essential that the smart meters enable access to a home’s real-time power data.

Today's smart homes offer a range of features and technologies that allow homeowners to access real-time power data from individual appliances and devices. However, in order to get a complete picture of a home's energy usage, a clamp-on $100 power meter that updates every 10 seconds must be installed in the electrical box by an electrician. This increases the cost to over $200. While this may seem like a small inconvenience, it is not always practical or affordable for homeowners to install this type of technology.

 A better way forward is to integrate the smart electric meter into the home network using open application interfaces that would enable apps to be developed that can securely access the real-time data while giving the homeowner control of who can access the data. This would eliminate the need for a separate power meter and provide them with a more accurate, convenient and efficient way to monitor their energy usage.

Real-time power data provides detailed information about energy usage, allowing homeowners to identify trends and patterns in their energy consumption and helping them make informed decisions that can lower their electric bills. In addition to helping improve the energy efficiency of their home, understanding power data can better prepare homeowners to opt into future grid flexibility programs. A win-win for both the utility and homeowner.

Any investment in smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure should include access to real-time power data by the homeowner, as it is essential for managing home energy consumption. Monthly electric bills provide limited insight into energy usage, and installing a clamp-on power meter may not always be practical or affordable. Integrating the electric meter into home network apps using open application interfaces provides a better way forward for homeowners to monitor their energy usage in real time.

Dave Hardin
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