Why Use Smart Meters – Survey Results

Why Use Smart Meters – Survey Results

Mar 11, 2021

In March 2021 NES completed a very interesting poll,  asking why energy providers use smart meters.

The results were:

> Load Conservation, 15%
> Loss Reduction, 38%
> Remote Monitoring, 42%
> Other, 4%.

This clearly shows the drivers for smart meter deployments converging on energy efficiency and management of the smart grid.

Loss reduction is generally split into two main sources:

  • Non-technical losses. These relate to energy theft, fraud and can also extend to cyber-security. This often relates to revenue leakage for the energy supplier, but these can cause sociological impacts as well, especially where theft and fraud levels are significant and where the risk of cyber-security is heightened.
  • Technical losses. These are related to energy dissipated in wires/conductors/transformers.  Inefficiency in the transmission and distribution of energy causes revenue leakage for the energy supplier. The more public impacts are around sustainability, the negative impacts of technical losses on carbon-emission reduction and allowing our scarce and valuable resource to be squandered.

Remote Monitoring is an enabler of the promise that the smart grid offers. To be efficient, we need to optimise, to optimise, we need to manage, and to manage, we need to monitor. The smart meters are the only ubiquitous devices in the smart grid edge, the low-voltage grid, which offer monitoring points.

So, what does this tell us?

Well, the smart meter is now way more than a means to gather energy consumption information and turn supply on and off remotely. At their time of inception, several decades ago, sure, that was the business case.

Now, the smart meter is a piece of IT which allows the energy supplier to understand more about how energy is distributed to the consumer and where illegal activities pose risk to equitable supply of energy.

The key message from the survey?

Consider the smart meter as a key component of corporate IT. Apply all the due diligence to the smart meter that you would apply to corporate IT. Don’t fall victim to false economies. It is an essential technology to achieve energy sustainability and fair and reliable availability of energy to all.

Jon Wells - Vice President of Customer Solutions at NES