Survey Shows Smart Meters Are Gaining Popularity

A survey by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) in May found almost one-third of all households in the country now have a smart meter. That’s up from about 25 percent last September. By mid-decade, IEE projects more than half of all homes will have a smart meter.

The new smart meters are already benefitting consumers. For example, if a home equipped with a smart meter should lose power, the utility is instantly alerted—the consumer doesn’t have to call to report a power outage. 

Smart meters are now beginning to return energy-saving benefits to consumers. In parts of California and in Texas, for example, homeowners can go online to see how much electricity their home used the day before. By becoming aware of their home's electricity usage, consumers tend to take steps to conserve.

Some utilities, like NV Energy in Nevada, also are giving consumer easy-to-use tools, powered by smart meter data, to help them set usage or dollar amount thresholds and be notified when their account exceeds the thresholds.

The White House’s Green Button initiative helps consumers use their smart meter data to save energy as well. Twenty-one electric utilities and electricity suppliers have committed to giving their customers easy-to-understand information about their home’s energy use through a green button on their websites. Today, about 10 million homes and businesses have access to the Green Button format. By the end of year, IEE expects 30 million will.