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How smart are the smart meters you get from one of the big 6 energy suppliers?

The chances are that you either already have or are on the allocation list to be upgraded to smart meters within your home. This means you no longer need to supply regular meter readings to the energy provider as they obtain this directly from the meter itself. You also get a display monitor that shows you how much energy you are using at any time of the day and contains historical data about your usage, so you can see when you are using the most energy. The bill you receive however is still based on an estimated annual usage and not based on your actual usage each day, week, or month.

The smart meter rollout is backed by the government who have made reforms in the industry to make it easy for us to change supplier at any time. The plan is to help reduce C02 emissions by making homeowners more aware of their energy usage and take action to help reduce costs within their own homes. The theory, therefore, is sound, however, in practice, the display monitor and the information it provides to us is, in reality, useless.

Smart Meter

You see, to save energy, you’d need to know how much energy each home device is using so that you can ensure they are switched off and the monitors don’t give you this level of information. The only way you could work this out would be to switch off each device and check the display to measure the impact, which I’m sure you’ll agree isn’t an ideal scenario. I think, therefore, it’s fair to say that the free display monitor tells you nothing and in fact is using energy whilst plugged in, which is why mine sits idle in a drawer somewhere.

The smart meters used in multi-unit housing developments can tell how much energy is being used in each room enabling tenants to pay the landlord for what they use rather than a split of the total usage for the building. The technology to supply this level of information has been in use for several years and is constantly evolving with energy monitoring companies designing and developing new smarter monitors every year.

At Phoenix Contact we recognise the importance of energy measurement and monitoring and have a wide range of interconnect products and electronics enclosures to help design engineers meet the challenges of creating new innovative products.

Why not take a look at our website for more information on how we can help you with your design of your next energy management system.

Written by Gary Nelson, Sales & Marketing Manager- Device Connections

Phoenix Contact is a world leader for electronic components, systems and solutions in the field of electrical engineering, electronics and automation. The family-owned company currently employs 17400 people worldwide and achieved a total revenue of 2.38 billion euro in 2018. The headquarters are in Blomberg, Germany. The Phoenix Contact Group consists of nine companies and 55 sales companies. The worldwide presence is also supported by 30 agencies in Europe and overseas.
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