A smart meter is different from other meters, including existing digital meters, as it sends information back to Western Power electronically, rather than relying on someone to physically read the meter. It also measures the amount of electricity used each 30 minute period.
Like existing digital meters, a smart meter measures how much electricity you are using and, if you have solar panels, how much electricity is being fed back to the Western Power network.
Through its communication capability, a smart meter allows information on energy use to be shared with you on a regular basis. This can help you to better manage how much electricity you use and reduce your energy bills.
In the future, households with smart meters will be able to choose from a range of devices and appliances designed to help manage their energy use and keep costs down.
Western Power is currently trialing programs to help customers save money by better managing their electricity use.
9,000 smart meters have been installed at selected properties in the Eastern Metropolitan Region and 2,300 in Denmark and Walpole to enable these trials.
Smart meters and energy efficiency
As part of the Perth Solar City program, Western Power has been working with Synergy to offer selected smart meter recipients the chance to trial some new technology, to help them save money.
The tools on offer are:
- MAX – A wireless device with an in home display that shows customers how much energy they are using in real-time. Preliminary results show that household energy use, on average, is reduced by seven per cent.
- Air Conditioning Trial – This opt-in program reduces air conditioner energy use during peak periods with no effect on customer comfort levels. Early results indicate energy use reductions of up to 20 per cent during peak periods.
- PowerShift – A new time of use tariff designed to encourage households to use less energy during peak periods. Preliminary results show that consumption during the “super-peak” period decreased by an average of 10.9 per cent.
Smart meters are also being used as part of an energy efficiency initiative in Denmark and Walpole.
Smart meters and renewable energy
Smart meters will allow households with solar panels to monitor how much electricity is being exported back onto the Western Power network, and how much is being consumed at home.
Smart meters will also help Western Power to better monitor and manage the connection of renewable energy sources to the network.
The information provided by the smart meters will help inform renewable energy policy into the future.
Because smart meters make the network easier to monitor and control they will also help prepare us for other emerging technologies such as electric vehicles.
Fact sheets (PDF)
- For more information about the MAX – In Home Display, Air Conditioner Trial and PowerShift, please visit Synergy’s website.
- For more information about preliminary trial results, please refer to Perth Solar City’s 2010/11 Annual Report.
- For more information on smart meters and how to read them, please refer to the Metering section of the website.