SMART METERS NOT SMART ENOUGH
ACEEE Study Finds 'Smart Meters' Not Smart Enough to Slash Residential Power Use and Significantly Reduce Consumer Electric Bills; Demand Could be Cut by About a Tenth, Resulting in Tens of Billions in Pocketbook Savings for Consumers and a Significant Decline in CO2 Gases
June 29, 2010 (ACEEE via PR Newswire)
"Consumers could cut their household electricity use as much as 12 percent and save $35 billion or more over the next 20 years if U.S. utilities go beyond simple "smart meter" initiatives to include a wide range of energy-use feedback tools that get consumers more involved in the process of using less energy, according to [Advanced Metering Initiatives and Residential Feedback Programs: A Meta-Review for Household Electricity-Saving Opportunities] from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)...
"ACEEE based its findings on a review of 57 different residential sector feedback programs between 1974 and 2010…ACEEE found that three of the most promising approaches in the short- to medium-term include enhanced billing, daily/weekly feedback, and "off line" and Web-based real-time feedback…[P]rograms that go beyond "smart meters" are few and far between…[N]o U.S. utilities are currently providing the full range of needed services…"
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"Beyond a short-term move to enhanced billing programs, households could see even greater levels of savings through the application of more sophisticated programs that integrate utility-based advanced metering initiatives with on-line or in-home energy displays and tailored guidance regarding the highest-impact means of reducing energy waste. Utilities across the country are investing in new electricity meters that provide two-way communications between the meter and the utility, and that monitor and collect household energy use data on an hourly basis (or even more frequently).
"When paired with an on-line program, households can increase their knowledge about how they are using energy. When combined with an in-home display, electricity consumers can witness the amount of energy that they are consuming in real-time, calculate the month-end impact of their current consumption patterns, and assess the impact of adopting new practices and more energy-efficient technologies. The average electricity savings associated with online services providing daily/weekly feedback (the Google PowerMeter is one example) is about 8 percent while real-time feedback has witnessed an average savings about 9 percent per participating household…"
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"Energy-use feedback can help households gain control over their energy use practices, reduce the amount of wasted energy, and reduce electricity consumption by 4 to 12 percent…[C]onsumers might enjoy a cumulative net savings of $2 to $35 billion or more over the next 20 years…
"Advanced (or "smart") metering initiatives alone are neither necessary nor sufficient for providing households with the feedback that they need to achieve energy savings, however they do offer important opportunities…[A]dvanced meters must be used in conjunction with in-home (or on-line) displays and well-designed programs that successfully inform, engage, empower, and motivate people…Utilities and policymakers should…ensure that U.S. households receive needed feedback…Providing households with persistent feedback has resulted in sustained savings over time…"