The world is a global village and with the Internet of things, this village is about to get even smaller. Imagine living in a world where everything is interconnected. Cellphones, coffee maker, engine of aero plane, wearable gear, light bulbs interconnects and connects to the internet. This means that they are interoperable although they perform different functions. Experts predict that by the year 2020, there shall be more than 26 billion devices connected through the internet of things. A Briton, Kevin Ashton coins the term ‘Internet of Things’. The British government is advancing the internet of things ideology by advocating for smart meters. So, let’s explore these smart meters.
Smart meters have become increasingly popular in recent years as households and businesses try to reduce their energy consumption. A smart meter, an electronic device, records how you consume energy in short periods (every hour). It gives back a report on the costing of the energy utilized. They are also able to send direct reports wirelessly to the supplier which helps in getting more accurate bills. The wireless communication with the energy provider is what makes the smart meter part of the internet of things.
The UK government is championing efforts to have every home installed with a smart meter both for gas and electricity. The UK government started its Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) in 2013 with the goal of installing smart meters in every home there. It is doing this by encouraging a supplier led rollout. Out of the 29 million homes in the UK as of December 2019, 16.5 million properties had installations. The government tries to achieve its main objective, to encourage energy efficiency. Also, it tries to cut on carbon emissions by reducing consumption of fossil fuel generated energy.
Smart meters are revolutionising how people use electricity, making it possible for electric vehicle charging to be more affordable during off-peak hours and increasing household income by assisting renewable energy producers in exporting green energy to the grid. But what’s in it for you as the consumer? By using smart meters, you will easily track your energy consumption patterns hence enabling you to easily control your consumption hence save on costs.
For instance, a smart meter linked to a natural gas line counts the number of therms used. With its “smart” capabilities, the meter can regulate the flow of the resource being used, be it electricity, water, or natural gas. You will also be able to switch between suppliers more easily hence take advantage of the best deals. Estimated bills will also be a thing of the past as you will be billed for what you actually use only. This will of course go a long way in avoiding nasty surprises that come with estimated bills. UK and EU product safety information covers the safety of the smart meter product.
The expected timeframe for installation of smart meters all over the UK is between 2016 and 2020. Although it is not mandatory to have a smart meter, the pros outweigh the cons hence it is advisable to get yourself a smart meter!
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