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Why Your Electricity Meter Sucks

My electricity meter is about fifty years old, and it's likely that yours is too. Even if it's new, it probably uses the same ancient technology as mine. Those meters were created for a world with cheap, abundant power. Well, the world has why hasn't my electricity meter?

It turns out, that if all United States power companies were to upgrade to new electricity meters today, America would save roughly $35 billion in energy costs over twenty years and it would eliminate the need for around 625 power plants. How could something as simple as an electricity meter suck so bad?

The most significant (though not only) problem with old electricity meters is that they charge you the same amount no matter what time of day it is. Electric utilities must keep baseload power plants at full operating capacity constantly (see baseload power). At night, the coal keeps burning, but no one is awake to use the levitra tablets sale power. Then during peak hours, all electricity produced by large power plants is used. In fact, expensive and inefficient 'peaker plants' have to be turned on daily to meet demand.

But none of that matters to me. Running my dryer during the day costs exactly as much as running it at night. So why should I change?

This is why the great green state of California commissioned a study three years ago, in which they switched a few thousand Californians to a new kind of electricity meter that charged higher rates at peak hours and lower rates at off-peak times.

And now, the results are in. People with programmable thermostats decreased their peak power use by as much as 10%, and no consumers in the study didn't decrease their peak power use substantially. The Brattle Group recently got a hold of this data and they've done some economic analysis that knocked my socks off. Their report, which is where I got the statistics above, is shocking.

New meters that enable "dynamic pricing" programs would decrease the energy use of America by 5% minimum. If broader technology applications were put into place, such as in-home power plants, plug-in hybrid-to-grid technology and other so-called "peak shavers" we could decrease the electricity demand of America by 20% in 20 years!

On top of that, the program would eliminate the need for expensive peaker plants, reduce greenhouse emissions, and reduce or eliminate brownouts. More than that, though, i just makes sense that you'd pay more when demand is higher and supply lower. Isn't that how economics works? Apparently not when you let the snail-paced power companies lead the only today cheap fast cialis charge.

Via GreenBiz and The Brattle Group

Check out the full report from: The Power of Five Percent

See Also:
-What is the Electranet-
-The EcoGeek Newsletter-
-Personal Power Plant-

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Comments (75)Add Comment
Wait a second
written by James, June 28, 2007
In most of the articles in here they tout how we could plug in our hybrids at night with 'off peak' prices or that ice box A/C helper that freezes at night and cheap viagra pills uses that cold to help out the A/C during the day. So which is it, can we take advantage of off peak pricing for those or do we need to reform the metering system first? Sounds a little bit of an omission from previous posts to me
written by James, June 28, 2007
Sorry. I didn't mean to make that seem so confrontational, just I am just confused and need clarification.
To James
written by mercutiom, June 28, 2007
I live here in Phoenix, AZ and have a program through my power company where they charge me less during off-peak hours and more during peak hours. While this program does save me quite a bit of money, it's still not perfect.

I work late and am a night owl by nature, but I still sleep through a significant part of the off-peak hours. Additionally while I try to do all my laundry and dishes during these off-peak hours I still end up using more power during those peak hours.

Whether it be my computer, the television, or the air conditioning (necessary in the 110+ heat) more power goes out of my house, because I'm not using the computer, the TV, or the air conditioning as much at night.

And like I said, I'm a night owl, most people are awake during the day, using power during the day. Unless a significant part of society becomes nocturnal, then new Electric Meters make sense.

And even if they aren't perfect, isn't it intelligent to use something that could save energy and keep those power plants off-line. Isn't this about the environment and being ecologically intelligent as well as financially intelligent?
written by James, June 28, 2007
I totally agree. My point was that previous articles seemed to assume that off-peak hour usage was cheaper for consumers. This one says that the meters charge the same no matter what the time. I want to know which is the the reality for the average consumer.

Certainly newer more sophisticated meters and pricing schemes would not only be good for the environment and financially as this article shows, but it also just seems logical in an economy that is supposed to be based on supply and demand. When demand is highest, peak hours, that juice should be more expensive than when its lower, late at night.
written by Hank, June 28, 2007
We tend to try and keep things relatively brief. An explanation of dynamic pricing is hard to fit into every article about plugin hybrids. The point is, dynamic pricing needs to happen now because it will give make plug-in vehicles a better investment while greatly decreasing america's energy demands.

So, unfortunately, for now dynamic pricing is not the norm. Though it is spreading, especially in places with expensive electricity.
Good to be Canadian
written by Dave, June 28, 2007
Canada (Ontario specifically) just rolled out new smart meters to almost 1 million people.
These meters can adjust your costs based upon time of day usage.
Down the road, these meters will allow you to see your usage on a by the hour basis, and help you trim back on your use.
I have one of these lovely machines on my house right now.
America is behind
written by Hank, June 28, 2007
A lot of Europe has the new meters as well...we're definitely lagging.
UK Started Long Ago...
written by Ross, June 28, 2007
Here in the UK you've been able to have the 'Economy 7' Tariff for many a decade! The idea was that through the 7 Off-Peak hours you'd be charged a lot less, but you would pay a little more for normal 'On-Peak' hours than an average customer! The meter was essential the same as a standard meter but with 2 sets of recording dials and it would just register on a different meter depending what time of day it was!

The main aim of this was to get customers to set Dishwashers, Washing Machines etc. to come on overnight. Also, many houses used to have Night Storage Heaters as the main heating system. These would use electricity to heat up a heat sink overnight whilst electricity was cheap, which was then released into the house the very good site cialis canada generic following day!
Economy 7.
written by rob, June 28, 2007
I'm in the UK and use economy 7, The meter switching is controlled with a radio signal (it used to be a timer) and gives you seven hours of cheap electric per night.
It is quite useful, I have storage heaters, my immersion tank, tumble drier and washing machine are all on timers.
My monthly power bill is 26, it builds up a credit during the summer, for the winter.
Brattle Group
written by CF, June 28, 2007
Totally random note.

Brattle's new website should be launching in the next week. The key word is should. It should have launched over a month ago.

The redesign was way over due.
Power is not wasted at night
written by Gary, June 28, 2007
You said "At night, electricity flies through the grid and, with no one awake to use it, it simply dissipates.". That is simply wrong. The mechanical load on the power plant depends on the electrical load on the network. Less electrical load, less mechanical load, less carbon. It does not "simply dissipate", it is never generated.
Tech Rep
written by Brian, June 28, 2007
Look up APS & SRP in Arizona, both have multiple peak pricing programs, ~5 cents off peak, ~18 cents on peak. Mine is peak from noon to 7PM, M-F. Weekends & holidays are off peak. My off peak rate is a little higher due to the shorter window of on peak hours.
Awesome Story
written by Matt, June 29, 2007
Great information. I need to get my electricity bill down and this is the way to do it.
written by Get Real People!, June 29, 2007
Wow, none of you are able to see the reality here.

THIS WILL NOT SAVE ELECTRICITY! THE METERS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME! Well, that's not 100% true. They have a clock in them.

The point is that your electricity bill doesn't go down. It's just a license for the electric company to CHARGE YOU MORE whenever they feel like it.

What's peak? Oh, sorry, "peak demand" is now 1AM to 11PM. Sorry, you're screwed. So sad, too bad.

This is BAD for consumers, BAD for businesses. The *ONLY* people these meters are good for are THE POWER COMPANIES. Why do you think they're pushing it? Because it's a license for them to print money, directly from your checking account! DUH!

Morons. You can't see the forest because there's too many trees in the way.
Numbers don't make sense
written by Matt, June 29, 2007
I'm curious as to where your numbers came from.

Those numbers you mention sound really big, but if you divide that 35 billion by 20 years, and then divide the per year savings by the number of households in America (98 million, according to Google), you end up seeing a savings of just under $20.00 per year per household. I'm all for saving money, but I'm not sure that the cost of replacing the electric meter will come anywhere close to being worth the savings. How much do those things cost? I'm sure they're not cheap. What would it cost to replace the levitra professional mail order meters on all of those 98 million households?

Also, How many power plants do we have operating in America right now? If we eliminate the need for 625 power plants, how many does that leave us with?

Can you elaborate on how dynamic pricing will reduce the amount of energy used? I can understand it reducing the bill, but the actual energy used would be the same, would it not?

Don't get me wrong, I agree completely that we should do everything we can to save energy and money. I just think we should avoid articles that create a false sense of urgency, similar to what we see on the local news every night.

Electricity dissipates?
written by Matt, June 29, 2007
Can you give us all a link to your source for this comment as well? Because, it's just simply false.

PG&E's SmartMeter
written by Patrick, June 29, 2007
Pacific Gas & Electric company is in the beginning phases of installing it's new SmartMeter's in every residential, commercial, and industrial customer in it's service territory. These SmartMeter's will allow customers to view thier energy usage on the company's website and adjust their tarrif schedule if they discover they could save money because they consume energy at different times of the day than the normal schedules.

These meters have began installation in PG&E's southern territory in Bakersfield and is working it's way northward, the entire service territory should find their new meters by 2011.

PG&E is spending $1.9 Billion on the project but think customers will find that they will be able to save electricity and money by effieciently managing their energy consumption.
Sources for All?
written by John, June 29, 2007
Could you provide sources for all of your reasoning. I'm particularly interested in where the electricity would come from during the day if we did away with peak plants. We can't just pull the difference out of thin air, and a new meter certainly wouldn't the load on power plants during peak times go away.
Japan has it right
written by Leon, June 29, 2007
Or at least has it better.
written by Josh, June 29, 2007
there are new boilers that are being tested in the UK that actually generate a fair amount of electricity, called whispergen, if everyone did this it would reduce the load power stations have to provide for domestic use and customers bills would be zero for power...
written by Don't Get Real, June 29, 2007
"Get Real People" is obviously a pretentious pseudo-intellectual professional college student. Per his quote below...

"Wow, none of you are able to see the reality here.

THIS WILL NOT SAVE ELECTRICITY! THE METERS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME! Well, that's not 100% true. They have a clock in them. "

The real truth is that the high prices in your electric bill come from the cost to generate on peak demand days (when less efficient and much more expensive plants have to come on line).

Do a little research next time before making such a poor argument in public. FYI, your car gets better gas mileage cruising at a reasonable speed than when pushing the pedal to the floor trying to go 100 mph.

Go back to listening to Rush Limbaugh now...
Electricity does not just dissipates...
written by Phil, June 29, 2007
Power plants decreases their electricity output when demands fall: this is how a constant tension is kept on the network.

However, I do agree that modernisation helps greatly to reduce electricity consumption.
written by jimmy, June 29, 2007
ultimately, smart meters and the dynamic pricing schemes associated with them would encourage customers to make use of energy during off peak times, flattening the demand curve. over time, one would expect to see less difference between peak and average grid loads. energy generation and transmission systems are designed around peak load rates. lower peak loads mean less generation requirements, resulting in the need for fewer idle energy generation plants. most power plants can't be cycled on and off. in order to meet current peak loads, they have to be left on all the time. it's analogous to idling a car because you might need it later today.
Doesn't work here in NY anymore
written by michael, June 29, 2007
I've had "time of use" meters at my house for over 12 years now. I did save a substantial amount of $$ until a couple of years ago when they opened the field of electricity suppliers. Now "time of use" only applies to the delivery part of the bill, which is miniscule- these meters have actually cost me more. The other downside is that if you need to use a great amount of electricity during a peak time the only now levitra england cost is double the off peak rate. The peak rate is much higher (30%) than if you had a regular meter. They did give me two options of a peak/off peak schedule of something like 6am-8pm or 8am-10pm (off peak all weekend).
Dissipating electricity?!?
written by Otto, June 29, 2007
At night, electricity flies through the grid and, with no one awake to use it, it simply dissipates

I would find that funny if it wasn't so annoyingly wrong.

You know, water pumps pump water to your house all the time. If you don't use it, does it simply "dissipate"? No? Well, electricity doesn't either.

Even if you ignore the fact that power plants scale back production by shutting off generators according to load, the fact of the matter is that electricity that is not being used is not actually being produced.

When you have a generator, what you're doing is applying force to make it spin, which creates electricity, which goes down wiring and then at the other end powers a motor or whatever it's powering. This is really no different than if you attached a physical rope between the generator and the motor and used one to actually spin the other. The motor is a "load". The more load there is, the more physical resistance exerted on the generator. In other words, the more electricity being used, the harder the generator becomes to turn. If there's no power being used, the generator spins freely, and usually very easily.

Now, there is always power being used. Pushing power down a wire produces heat and it also produces electromagnetic fields. These are considered "losses" and they are measurable. But they are also constant, for any given wiring. So when they push power down to you, there's a certain amount of loss involved whether you use that power or not. But that loss doesn't go up just because you're not using the power on the wire. It actually goes down by a small (but again, measurable) amount when you're not using the power.

So, the best way to save electricity is to *not use so much electricity*. And when power consumption drops, you're not wasting anything, as the power plants will scale back production. Simple, really.
It is great... IN THEORY
written by Mantari Damacy, June 29, 2007
It might even work out well, for some, at first. But I think you underestimate how greedy corporations in America are getting, especially in the name of pleasing shareholders.

They'll use the system to put the squeeze to customers, expand the range of the peak hours, and easily create a net increase in costs to consumers.

What, you don't actually TRUST them, do you?
Lots of guessing and speculation
written by Mancfrank, June 29, 2007
I'll add my guesses too. I think you'll find that in fact the largest part of electricity load in any industrialized country already uses a timed tariff system. Most electricity is consumed by large industrial / commercial users. These users negotiate prices based on maximum demand - that is how much they will use and when. If the maximum demand is exceeded a higher price has to be paid. Expanding this type of tariff to individual household makes sense from the point that consumers will become conscience of their energy usage. The notional savings suggested at the beginning of the piece do not seem to bear scrutiny. If we can make guesses I would say that when heating load is used turn the thermostat down one or two degrees and when the AC is used turn the thermostat up one or two degrees - the $35B will appear insignificant comparatively.
Kinda Agree
written by Shane, June 29, 2007
I actually work for a power company. Some of these numbers are possible, for instance shutting down 625 plants is totally possible. I've got a spreadsheet right here of the number of existing units in 2005 and well, there are over 16,000 in the US.
I kinda agree with some of the posters though. If everyone had a smart meter and ran their high-drain appliances at night, don't you think the power company would start charging more for that time of the day? Heck yeah we would!
Hawthorn Effect
written by Jumb, June 29, 2007
This article is so flawed. Mainly is is not taking into consideration something called the Hawthorn effect, in which the desired results of an experiment will be achieve when the subjects know they are under observation.

Furthermore, there is NO WAY the electricity meters dissipate and waste the electricity at night. The energy has to go SOMEWHERE?! If this were the case your energy meter would be 300 degrees.
written by abc, June 29, 2007
Utilities are HIGHLY regulated. They cannot make large capital investments without approval by the state utilities commission. If you look at publicly available information, PG&E (for example) is expecting to spend $300+ million over the next 5 years to roll out a smart metering system. The PUC requires them to have 1 million in place by the end of 2008.

It takes time to evaluate such an investment. It takes a huge amount of time to get approval from the PUC. It takes time to test the system to ensure that customers bills and cialis canadian pharmacy service will not be interrupted by the roll out.

This is still a fairly immature technology, that is changing very rapidly. Basic automatic metering systems have been around for 15+ years, but most suffer problems scaling up to serve large utilities with millions of meters. There are large deployments (30+ million in Italy), but they have been very expensive. The technology providers are working feverishly to bring the cost down and scale up.

Meters have a lifetime of 15-20 years. You can imagine that utilities and PUC's are a bit nervous about spending huge sums of money when the technology is changing so rapidly. The fear would be that they would be committed to a technology for 20 years, that is obsolete 2 years later. It takes a bit of time to verify that the investment (which you as a customer pay through increased rates) makes sense.

The back offices of the utility company must undergo a large transformation to handle the increased amount of meter reading data. The scale is immense. They may have 50-100 different systems that need to be altered to accept the information from the meter reading system. Networks, storage, and computing infrastructure all have to be increased to deal with the load. Utilities are very careful in planning this sort of thing, because if they mess up, people are without power or get incorrect bills. This takes time.

As far as I can tell, the benefits of smart meters will be huge. I think you're a bit harsh on the utilities companies in your comments.
Oh *wow*...
written by Get Real People!, June 29, 2007
Some guy who couldn't even be bothered to type in a name wrote:

The real truth is that the high prices in your electric bill come from the cost to generate on peak demand days (when less efficient and much more expensive plants have to come on line).

Here's what YOU DON'T GET: Peak demand is NOT GOING TO GO AWAY. Most people AREN'T HOME during the work day, THEY'RE AT WORK! (*duh*, leave your brain in a bucket this morning??)

Where the total SCAM comes in (and that's what this is!) is after the 'peak' meters go in, the electric companies increase what they call peak hours. First it's 9-5. Then it's 7-7. Then it's 5-9. OK, now you've expanded peak to include hours when people are normally home, and presto! Instant way to print money by claiming to be green!

The only way to shave PEAK usage is what the energy companies are already doing -- paying HUGE INDUSTRIAL users (factories, data centers, etc.) to either go offline completely (shut down) or to kick on their emergency generators during peak usage.

This isn't BS; I work for a hospital, and every summer we're asked by Commonwealth Edison to run our generators on the hottest days. They kick us 10% off, and they get back a lot of capacity on the grid.

To do the equivilent, TWO NEIGHBORHOODS would have to completely shut OFF EVERYTHING.

That's not going to happen, ever!

So I would suggest that YOU get a clue. This isn't about being green, or saving energy. This is about RAPING THE RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMER, no more, NO LESS!
written by mind, June 29, 2007
hopefully the things would have some sort of ethernet or x10 type of interface, such that devices could see for themselves how much electricity currently costs and what the prices predicted for the next day or so would be.

also they'd support net metering (as opposed to some of the really old ones that run the meter forwards when you're feeding electricity back into the grid)

imagine the boon to independent solar energy - the sun is out during peak usage
cheap electric
written by tom, June 29, 2007
I don't care. My eletric per kilowatt costs are still cheaper than using gas, coal, wood, oil, or solar power system costs.
written by Me, June 29, 2007
The electricity doesn't move through the grid unless there is a load.

Basing the article on this fact made me skip to this part, leaving a comment, stating that this is rubbish.
Can not wait!
written by Bo 'Chrome Industry', June 29, 2007
I think this is a great idea, I know that my energy bill always gets me, for a few dollars I wouldnt mind doing night time laundry, and daytime sweats! ;D
At the line...
written by Al the man, June 30, 2007
When you go to the store and see a long line, do you expect to pay more for your food at the register?

snail-paced power companies??
written by Dave, June 30, 2007
those companies are contracted and hired by inept, corrupt, and slow paced city, county, and state bureaucracies with all kinds of weird, useless, and outdated legislation that limits the power companies from being creative
Sad display of ignorance
written by Someone Who Actually Researches DSM, June 30, 2007
At "Get Real People!" - Wow. You are amazingly ill informed.

In response to, "THE METERS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME," the meters are absolutely nothing alike. Your current meter is like a water flow meter. It spins one way, has to be read by someone physically standing in front of it and can only track aggregate consumption (kwh). - Much like an odometer. The new ones take hourly consumption readings, power readings, have digital networking interfaces (wireless, BPL or hardline) and are bidirectional.

In response to, "The *ONLY* people these meters are good for are THE POWER COMPANIES. Why do you think they're pushing it? " - I can't honestly believe you are so ignorant that you believe this. The utilities are fighting like hell to delay as long as possible. FERC is pushing them (Section 1252 of EPAct 2005) into it. They don't want to do it because every power company dumping power into the grid at those peak times gets paid the peak price (the marginal generator bid - look up market clearing and 'bid stack'). If they pull the peak down, they pull the marginal bid price down, and ALL OF THE UTILITIES lose fortunes (particularly the base load generators).
Additionally, this is one of the most transparent industries in the country (legacy from regulated days). All of the dispatching is controlled by ISO's or RTO's that are semi-gov't entities that publicly release ALL of the generation and demand data (aggregated monthly by the EIA). There is no room for the utilities to CREATE a wider peak and jack up prices. The Public Utility Commissions and FERC have access to all of that load data and would never allow it.

For Everyone: EPAct 2005 requires that every customer be allowed to go on time-based or demand-based pricing if they request it. Only 6 percent of Americans have time-sensitive meters, so I am not sure how enforceable that is, but if you are interested, give your power provider a call and find out. There haven't been any legal battles over that requirement yet, so I don't know how it is going to shake out.

For anyone who actually wants to learn more, there are a lot of groups doing research into DSM, but outside of Faruqui at Brattle/CRA, the best research for North America can be found at LBNL (C. Goldman) and ACEEE.
Good Post
written by Jeremt, June 30, 2007
I would like to add the the potentials savings ov pfer 17% per year to homes that are sealked and have tight ductork and good designs.

Metere efficiency also comes from utility companies use of demand controls, and electronic meters that broudcast the usage to a vehicle that drives through the neihbor hood. This cuts route time, reduces exposure to bits and other safety issues and makeds the process seamless.

I would love to whrite for ecogeek. Have some passionate ideas.
Nothing new here
written by textibule, July 02, 2007
Off-peak electrical metering, supplied by France's public utility, Electricit de France, has been mainstream in France for at least 25 years. It is especially used by consumers with electrical hot water or space heating.
Check this US Carbon Footprint Map out
written by Fred, July 08, 2007
Check this US Carbon Footprint Map out, has United States Interactive Carbon Footprint Map, illustrating Greenest States. This site has all sorts of stats on individual State energy consumptions, demographics and State energy offices.
Feel it now....
written by Pickering Power Plant, July 18, 2007
Just as some here have said, eventually peak hours will be extended, Our old friends and viagra canada online pharmacy family will be robbed of their hard earned cash because its just to hot or cold out for them to try to save energy in 'peak hours'! They are retired or handicapped, possibly stuck in the house. In bed by 8pm and up at 7am because thats what they have done for the past 60 or 70 years of their life! Medical equipment running, heaters that are electric because they cant afford a new furnace, older A/C units as the cant afford the $2000 for a new one.... But we'll save $20 a month on our bill, then be hit by the transmission fees, and debt recovery, the cost to install the new meters and service them!
At the end of the day I cant think of one single company that doesn't find a way to gouge us as individuals, even if we dont use the service they provide. They find ways to get tax breaks and guvernment subsidy and in turn, guvernments reflect it back on us tax payers!
ttc cant run on what they charge people that use it, they get 2 cents from every liter ibuy at the pump, then a tax break, then a bail out, then people that use ttc can write off the pass on their taxes....We will pay eventually for all thes new ideas, make no mistake. Hopefully when your children pay the same for electricity that we currently pay for gas you'll remember when you were all for regulating what time we use our electricty!
The perfect Solution...
written by TBone, July 26, 2007
written by DigitalGalt, August 19, 2007
When my children have changed their lifestyle so they don't have to pay 50 dollars per gallon but are instead paying 3 dollars per kWh (as PPP suggests) while America tears itself apart with rampant crime, poverty, and starvation as payment for its citizens' waste and ignorance, then I will be happy.
written by Matt Man, September 03, 2007
I love to read about interesting articles like this. A great way to save money and will help me immediately.
OMG I Like!
written by Meter Fetish, October 18, 2007
Electrical Meters make my penis tingle.
Nothing sexier than ramming a 120 volt powered dildoe
up my ass and watching the meter turn faster while
I turn it on and experience multiple anal orgasms.
written by sinta, October 30, 2007
Alternative enrgies on a small scale will only become truly cost effective for householders when the true costs of carbon emissions are included in the centralized electricity costs. In Australia significant subsidies are required for renewable and where can i buy real cialis alternative energy systems because the govt will not put these pricing schedules in place because they are afraid of hurting business in the short term. As some one once said politics is too short sighted to combat issues like sustainability which stretch many years into the future.
FX Trading System
Naughty Southern Electric
written by James Knight, November 02, 2007
Southern Electric here in the UK have been a bit naughty with their Flexiheat Tariff.

This was launched fifteen years ago, with Southern Electric supplying the storage heaters. When I moved into my house in 2000, the stored heat rate was 2.08 pence per unit. This has increased enormously in the last couple of years to 3.52 pence per unit.

I can't change to another supplier, as my heating system is only compatible with this tariff.(There are no direct heaters)

By the way, Hank is correct that off-peak power is currently wasted. Coal and Nuclear stations have to keep running continuously. Excess steam that is not needed to generate electricity is sent up the cooling towers.
low price high quality pcb
written by lily, December 14, 2007
if you are interested in pcb,hope to contact us.
written by Tim, February 21, 2008
In the long run we can each lower our consumption of electricity by utilizing more efficient appliances AND by having appliances that "bleed" electricity (entertainment center, hot water heater) shut off automatically each day during the hours when they are not needed. There are cheap meters on the market today that enable each of us to do this. Check out
written by Debt Negotiation, March 19, 2008
This may be shocking but it also brings a new problem into discussion: why force people to pay higher during the day? Then everyone could change their activities to a "night shift" when possible.
written by Curt, April 12, 2008
Hey…meters don’t save energy…people save energy. What do electric meters and guns have in common?
Use some common sense! (and basic econom
written by Utility Engineer, April 22, 2008
Generation MUST be ramped up and down to follow load or the frequency becomes unstable and causes problems. These meters DO NOT do anything by themselves, if you don't change your consumption patterns, these meters will increase your bill.

As far as charging hybrids (or whatever) off-peak, as stated it's only lower priced now because excess plants are shut down due to low load (therefore not producing any revenue - lower rates are to encourage increased use to produce that revenue). If the current off-peak times become more heavily used, it then becomes ON-peak and the price goes up because more capacity is needed.

A neighboring utility got approval from the Public Utility Commission to run a pilot program testing these meters and how they affected customers bills. Almost all customers saw an increase in their bill.

No matter how fancy (and how many periods of usage it can record), all the meter does is register usage, it doesn't save anything in and of itself.

Smart meters are Time of Use Meters. Be
written by Leslie Weinberg, May 08, 2008
Watch out, New York! You are about to join the rest of the City and all of New York State, as victims of yet another flagrant moneymaking scheme for Con Edison, and all the other investor-owned electric utilities in the State.

If you’ve read the papers, you have seen reference to the Electric Companies new, about to be initiated, “Smart Meter” program. These meters, which will be installed Statewide, are being touted as the most technologically advanced mechanisms, which will not only let the homeowner know how much electric is being used during which hours of the day, but will also be read remotely (no more door to door meter readers), can signal the Utility if there is a problem in your home, so that you don’t even have to call, and best of all, is the newest “training” program for the electric consumer. You are going to learn to adjust your usage to off-peak hours as you watch your meter, and realize that as an “educated” consumer, it is your job to cut down on energy. There is very little reference to a differential in rates for different periods of the day, but one small statement reads “Customers who use less electricity will be rewarded with lower rates”. You know what that means for those who use more.

In 1992, Con Edison instituted a program of “mandatory” time of use meters for the customers who were using large amounts of electricity during the months of June through September, as did the other six large NYS Utilities. They lied to the customers, never mentioning anything about differing rates during the twenty-four hour period, told them they were modern, digital meters, which would save them a lot of money. By the time we found out about it, over 20,000 meters had been installed in the State over the previous two year period.

The usual rate per kilowatt hour was around 13-14 cents in the Summer months, including taxes. The new time of use rate, from the hours of ten in the morning till six at night, was 38.50 cents per kilowatt hour BEFORE taxes. Figure somewhere around 50 cents a kilowatt hour. The price went down slightly from six to ten at night, and from ten at night till six in the morning, the charge was only 5 cents a kilowatt hour. Sounds great, huh? Run all your appliances at night, and you save a bundle. The program of rate increase was phased in over four years. The first year, you paid your normal rates, but were shown how much less you would have paid under Time of Use. The second and third years, you paid a percentage of the time of use charges, and by year four, you were going to be charged full time of use.

Yes, “some” people (not a majority), did see that they would have saved a little that first year, and during the second year, the percentage of people who saw a savings was very low. Con Edison could not tell people what the score would be by the time year four came around. They said they “didn’t know”. We did the math, and the increase in rates was staggering. No matter how people changed their habits, their rates increased at least threefold.

Not only were residences affected, but houses of worship, schools, senior centers, and other places which ran programs during the day. They couldn’t cut their air-conditioning for children and the elderly, any more than the elderly and young mothers with small children could cut their costs at home during the day. People with fixed incomes were dipping into their savings accounts to pay their bills.

We contacted State Senator Frank Padavan, Assemblyman Mark Weprin, the Consumer Protection Board, Civic groups, and the Media. We certainly did not involve the Public Service Commission since this program was instituted at its urging, with next to no public hearings or public information at all. This was strictly a private deal between the Utilities and the Public “Disservice” Commission.

Everyone agreed that not only had the program not shown any energy savings, but people were being hurt financially, and big time, at that. Senator Padavan and Assemblyman Weprin wrote legislation to prevent the Public Service Commission from ever being able to institute a “mandatory” time of use program, but the Utilities were told they had to offer it on a voluntary basis. This legislation was passed in 1997. They never actually pushed the “voluntary” rates - after all, the people who would want it, mostly those who went away for the Summer, would not bring Con Edison any revenue.

From 1997 till now, that legislation stayed on the books. Now, quietly, and secretly, while Con Edison et al, are planning on putting these meters in “every” home, regardless of usage history, and while they are telling you it is simply a great technical advance, and one which will “teach” people how to conserve, they have already managed, just last month, to get Senator Maziarz, from Upstate New York, to introduce legislation in the Senate (Bill # 7445) to allow the Public Service Commission, once more, to institute “Time of Use” metering if it feels it is in the “public good”.

It was already shown in 1996, that it was NOT in the public good, and the drive to conserve energy, prevent blackouts, to be a responsible electric consumer, was the battle cry then, just as it is now. Nothing has changed; there has always been a need to conserve, and to try to cut peak usage to prevent blackouts, but despite that, the NYS Senate and the NYS Assembly voted to eliminate the clause from the Public Service Law which allows the mandate of these meters.

No one will answer the question “ What are the rates going to be this time, and during which period of hours?” They negate that subject, saying that the rates will remain the same, that this is only to help the consumer learn to conserve.

We know this is not true, and we know that the Legislation is already in the Senate. There would be no need to add the mandate back into the Law if Con Edison was not planning on socking it to us with very high rates during peak and slightly off-peak hours. Judging from the history of this Time of Use Program - the failure of actual savings, and the cost to the consumer, the rates charged will be astronomical, and this time, EVERY homeowner and renter will be affected, not just the so-called “energy hogs”, as well as all the places which offer much-needed programs for the very young, and the elderly.

This is simply the back door approach to reinstating a program which is a money maker for Con Edison and the other six wealthy investor-owned Utilities. Don’t believe the hype you see in Press Releases. It is as much of a fraud as it was over ten years ago, when they said this was a program to save people money while conserving energy. Con Edison is not interested in having you save money; they want to make as much off you as possible. While obviously, there is a push to conserve energy, this program is not the answer. It has never worked, and it has been documented that it does not work. Simply more money for the stockholders.

Contact your Legislators, your Civic Groups, anyone you can think of, and insist that this Bill be killed. No one wanted it ten years ago, and no one is going to want it now, but once they put that meter in your home, you have no recourse. There is, of course, the very subtle issue of “Big Brother” here, since Con Edison et al. will be able to monitor your usage remotely, and know exactly how much electrical usage is taking place in your home, and when.

We will be contacting as many Legislators as possible, the Media, Civic Groups, Consumer groups, and the Consumer Protection Board in order to fight this highly detrimental program. We already know how people are hurt by it. We have seen it, and it has been documented.
written by Leslie Weinberg, May 09, 2008
abc writes "Utilities are HIGHLY regulated". Yes, but you have to understand that in New York, the PSC is "in bed" with the Utilities. They are partners in crime, When they held so-called Public Hearings in 1992 in order to implement the Time of Use Program, those hearings were comprised of ONE meeting, on Christmas Day, with three people in attendance. I doubt it differs any place else.
written by Justin, March 11, 2009
First, we're paying for the meters. This charge has now appeared on my bill. It will be years before the slow assed TXU installs a new meter at my home, yet they're charging me now. Freaking ridiculous.

Secondly, this should SAVE me money, not tell the electric company when to charge me more.

This sounds like a ripoff from both ends.
There are new boilers that are being tes
written by club penguin, May 19, 2009
There are new boilers that are being tested in the UK that actually generate a fair amount of electricity, called whispergen, if everyone did this it would reduce the load power stations have to provide for domestic use and customers bills would be zero for power.
Facilities Manager
written by Joseph Nizza, July 22, 2009
Dear Gentlepeople,
I have a problem that no one seems to be able to answer:
I feel that I have been being over charged for my electrical usage for the pass 10 to 15 years. I have been called my power company to check my meter several times and generic cialis canadian they always find that it is working properly. My neighbors and relatives with similar size houses are home all day and get half the bills that I am getting. Me and my wife live alone and have replaced all of my appliances with ones that are energy star rated.
Recently I had a electrician check my wiring. Although he found nothing wrong with the wiring, he did find that the Neutral / ground line had a fluctuating amperage readings from 1 to 2.8 amps, with the main Disconnect switch shut OFF. We also got these reading on all metal pipes. He believes that the power company or a neighboring house has a faulty ground. I have a single phase 220V service to my house and a 120 V meter.
My questions Are:
1-Have these transient currents on my Neutral line of 1 to 2.8 amps raising my monthly bills for all of this time?
2-If so, do I have a recourse with the Power Company to get reimbursed for the years of over charge,
3-Does a 120 V meter accurately read the two 120V power supply lines that compose the 220V single phase service that supply electric to my home?
4-Doses an unbalanced distribution, (different reading on each phase) cause higher reading then actually used.
Any help that you con give me in this important matter will be very much appreciated.
Thank you
Joseph Nizza
Seeking used meter for sub-unit
written by Ken Langdon, October 04, 2009
I have an old Dunkin Electric Single Stack meter that's gone south. I cannot buy one from PG&E since this was added on without their approval. Anyone know where to buy a single stack Watt-Hour meter?
Charging more for smart meters
written by Kevin Gabriel, October 13, 2009
In Houston, Centerpoint energy will be charging $3.00 extra a month for the new "smart" meters. The meters will not be completely installed until 2014 they are charging the $3.00 a month. Sounds like a real boon for the power companies, they get to shut down plants and charge customers to do it.

A quote from their FAQ on the website "Why should I pay now for a meter I might not get for five years?
The smart meter is only part of this technology upgrade, which includes an entire system of smart meters, communications equipment and computer software. The cost of this technology upgrade will be shared by all customers, and the total cost per consumer remains the same regardless of when it is paid. Spreading the cost over 12 years lowers the cost per month.

All consumers of electricity stand to benefit from potential cost savings resulting from energy conservation encouraged by a smart metering system, even before they receive a smart meter and even if they themselves don’t change their consumption habits. While smart meters can help you save money, you can save more than $3 per month now by using energy efficiently. In fact, one compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb can save you $30* or more over the life of the bulb. For more energy efficiency tips, visit and click on Energy Saving Tips."
written by dave, December 22, 2009
a ziplock bag of table salt sat on top of the meter will slow it down a great deal just remember to remove it
Alternative energy consutant
written by Rob Talbott, December 26, 2009
I came across this by accident, and read this.
First of all, I hope everyone see the "big" picture here. These"smart" meters and peak times are merely diversionary tactics from oil companies and utility providers to subdue the public and distract them from wind,solar,hydro and clean nuclear powers that have new usable technologies and are available. That they don't want!
Local,state and federal governments are the very ones hampering progress right now. I experience it first hand daily. And Indiana where I live has no Alternative Energy Policy and has no interst in getting one either.
So the problems I see are that the profitalbility from fossil fuels will be the thing we have to eliminate to bring down the roadblocks to a green society.
Please note too that every time this subject of alternative energy comes up, the utility providers threaten us with higher bills in the future.
I hope it stops soon, as it irritates me a bit. People are educated today and only now generic pack levitra can see through their smoke and mirrors. Do me a favor and e-mail your state govenor and ask them what they are doing to ensure that these alternative energy projects,like wind turbines and solar P.V., materialize and do create new jobs we need so badly.
Sorry I may appear a bit off topic, but it is directly related to Kw/Hr rates and rate hikes too.
Try to take money from these oil tycoons pockets and buy ultram online fedex see what happens....
written by Tom, January 12, 2010
Here in northern IL there is a program called RRTP (residential real-time pricing) available from Commonwealth Edison. It requires a special meter and you pay the hourly market price for electricity. We are on our third month. We saved 1/3 off our november bill when we did the math.
written by Donald Arnd, January 23, 2010
I have been a time of use customer for over 30 years. It does work. I use off peak power at night for heat, it is less than gas. I think in time tou will be required for all.
new meter
written by derf, March 20, 2010
hello everyone, i heard that there is a new meter available to stop us from losing unused power that is sent back to the grid threw are meters. the power loss is threw the neutral. and we could save as much as forty percent. has anyone else also heard about this
New Meter Was Just Installed On My Home In Texas
written by John, April 13, 2010
I was wakened by a door bell this morning, and shortly afterward my power was temporarily disconnected. I rushed out side to see what was going on(half dressed) and found a man walking away with my meter in his hand. I grabbed his attention with an abrasive HEY! He let me know the old meters were being replace in the area and there was a flyer on my door to tell me more. After reading the flyer i found the so call benifit of the meter is a reading every 15 minnutes. Also there would be less need for driving since they can read the meters remotly. There would also be a 2.51 charge added to my bill for the next 11years. I called the company and let them know my stand. There is an issue, at least for me, in a company manditorly upgrading equiptment at the cost of the consumer who has no choice about changing. Also by offsetting their fuel costs and vehicle costs we are lowering their bills! SO why are we paying more to save them money? My Uncle had one of these meters installed in November the previous year and let me know not only did his bill go from 200 a month to almost 500 a month, but the company could not explain why this is. I also want to comment on the supposed "peak" hours of use. I work hard, as most Americans do, and when i get home i dont want to wait till 10 or 11 at night to put my heater on. I dont want to keep my kids up till 9 or 10 to use the computer for thier homework. and by making people change the times the electricity is being used you are not fixing the issue, you are only shifting it. How long before eveyone in america is pushing their usage to a later time and that becomes the peak hours. The problem remains and i for one DO NOT AGREE!smilies/angry.gif
written by John, April 13, 2010
Where can i get a copy of shcedule with peak-offpeak hours?
written by Donald, April 24, 2010
To John,

Call your local utility. They may have a viariety of plans. Depends where you live, and what utility co,
Peak hours and the Economy
written by Mel, June 10, 2010
Dear John in Texas,
I agree with your concern for the peak-hour pricing. In this economy, people can't be picky about their jobs. I work days, my husband works night. I have two grown children that are home during the day for the summer. There is never a time when we don't have someone on the computer or doing a load of wash.

Why isn't it sufficient to bill the same rate (priority being how much energy a person uses) instead of when they use it. We are at a point in this country where you have to be able to make the green to afford being green.

Mel Davis

Here's the problem with that
written by Joe, July 10, 2010
The problem with everyone moving their electricity usage to overnight is that eventually it reaches a tipping point where people use more electricity at night and so night hours become the peak hours. It's like the fallacy that the natural gas industry is propagating in America now about changing cars and oil heaters over from petroleum to natural gas. They say we have hundreds of years of natural gas reserves but those figures are based on current usage patterns. If all cars and oil heaters started using natural gas those reserves would deplete a lot faster. Also, the article mentions all the electricity that is produced during the day that goes unused. What does shifting usage patterns to nighttime do about that? All it does is makes sure that more daytime electricity production is wasted and more nighttime production is required. so the power plants are actually producing more electricity, hence burning more fuel, while selling less due to people cutting back. This whole smart meter thing is another boondoggle like biofuels.
written by wart removal, March 27, 2011
Thats really sucks if you still use your 50 years old meter. Me will buy new meter after 10 years, you must do what I did to prevent any expenses by making new meter.
written by how to copy games, April 01, 2011
Here's a suggestion.How about installing high capacity batteries, during the night when theirs less power being used they could be charged, then during the day at the higher peek hours they could be switched on to supply suplimentary power to lessen the load spike? Would be handy for blackouts too.
This topic revisited
written by Mantari Damacy, May 17, 2011
A local power company is offering people $25/year if they install their smart meter that turns off (the cooling of) their central A/C for up to 6 hours a day (noon-6pm) on the hottest days of the year when you need your air conditioning the most.

See how smart meters work for you? You can be paid $25 to lose air conditioning on the very days you need it the most. The future is here!
written by Jeremy @ SmartPowerShop, January 03, 2014
I can only see positives from this. The idea that consumers can monitor and manage their own usage can only be a good thing. smilies/grin.gif
4 Channel DC Energy Meter Manufacturer
written by spaceage, July 15, 2014
Our 4 Channel DC Energy Meter comes with options of Shunt, Hall Effect Sensor, Split Core Hall Effect Sensor.The device can be connected through RS485 or we can provide a complete Remote Energy Monitoring Solution.

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