Smart meters are gaining popularity, but their potential to save energy goes largely unrealized, according to research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Though investing billions in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), most utilities have vastly underused this technology that can help customers save energy, ACEEE says. AMI is now in place in many states, covering nearly half of all meters in the United States.
AMI measures electricity use in short intervals (typically 15 minutes or 60 minutes) rather than by the month. Electricity providers can use such timely, granular data to better manage and optimize generation and grid operations, allowing for cost reduction and faster response to power outages.
The data can also be used to offer better programs and share insights to encourage customers to save energy. Despite these potential benefits, only one of the 52 utilities that ACEEE surveyed—Portland General Electric (PGE)—is building its capacity to optimize use of AMI to save energy.