A “Smart Meter” vs The Old Standby
Many experts articles dealing with energy talk about saving energy costs using systems currently in operation. Such is the case of a Finnish company Eltel Networks who have entered into an agreement with a large Finnish energy company Fortum to supply more than half a million of these energy saving electricity meters to homes in this Nordic country of 5.4 million people.
The project is the largest of its kind in Finland and will be carried out by 2013. Eltel will start the installations of new smart meter boxes in 2010. The idea of installing these special electricity monitoring devices in businesses and private homes is hoped enable people to save a substantial amount on their electric bills, which can be quite high during Finland’s long and extremely cold winters.
The project is estimated to cost around 120 million Euro and will provide Fortum with real-time intelligence that will revolutionize both the customer relations and operations of its power grid.
The IT company Televet will be responsible for manage electrical consumption metering data as well as ongoing system maintenance.
For those who are not aware of this technology, a smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way digital technology to control appliances at consumers’ homes to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency.
It includes an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electricity flowing through the system. A smart meter enables accurate electronic measuring of energy being used, and are much more accurate than standard meters which simply estimate the amount of energy being used. They enable the calculation of flexible energy tariffs that measure consumption over set time periods.
They also enable the capability of selling unused energy back to the supplier, i.e. the utility company, and will enable better usage of renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
The use of similar smart meters was noted a while back in a Green Prophet article, in which a device called Watt-o-Meter is being imported by an Israeli company Elah Valley Engineering which will let electricity customers keep a better track of how much electricity they are using in appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, and other energy consuming devices.
Although these type of monitoring devices are still relatively new, their usage will not only save electricity (by being able to more accurately monitor its consumption) but may enable people buying renewable energy systems to be able to better monitor the amount of surplus electricity they can sell back to the local utility company. These devices may even be able to prevent a crisis by helping national power supply companies monitor and meter energy so that peak usage is kept for essentials, and so that consumers can get discounts and deals for using power on off times.
Photos via www.wikipedia.org