How Are Smart Meters Beneficial to Dual Fuel Customers
The United Kingdom is planning to get smart meters installed in all the homes by 2020. What is so exceptional about them and how are they beneficial to customers?
There have been many countries where they have been successfully installed and these countries have proven that they are not just a facility but a necessity.
Between 2000 and 2005, Enel SpA, a utility major in Italy installed 27 million of them ensuring that its entire customer base was taken care of. These meters since then have proved to be extremely useful. They have proved to be extremely useful in many ways.
They have many facilities like remotely controlling the supply of gas/electricity to the property, automatic information relay to the company, immediate reporting of any outage, detect any unauthorized use of electricity and even change the amount of electricity that a customer demands at any time. They also can be converted from prepayment meters to credit meters with regular bills and vice versa from the remote service location. Any change in the tariff plans also become effective with a remote instruction.
Compare this to the situation where they are not installed. Let us assume a locality in a country has got digital non-smart meters installed. These non-smart meters have to be read regularly so that the bills can be generated on time. This causes excessive work load on meter operators and the utility companies alike. The customers usually expect the meter operators to read the non-smart meters and this misinformation can cause a lot of errors in the bills leading to customer dissatisfaction and extra work being done to rectify the errors caused due to estimation, taken in absence of an actual read.
Also, in the U.K. all those who are unable to pay their gas and electricity bills get a prepayment meter installed at the property if the utility company deems fit. All the debt is transferred on the prepayment meter and every time the customer tops the meter up, an agreed amount is deducted from the top up that goes to settle the debt. This is how a utility company is able to recollect any unpaid bills. To achieve this purpose, the whole meter unit has to be exchanged and this exchange is free of cost for the customers. This is a huge investment for the utility companies.
Smart meters help eliminate all such issues that had to be previously borne by utility companies. This has been successfully proven by the use of these smart meters in Italy. This is why many service providers have found the impetus to get smart meters installed at the consumers’ houses.