At the most basic level, smart meters serve to produce more accurate energy billing and enable consumers to better understand their energy usage.
More significantly however, smart meter technology is a vital component in the realisation of the smart energy grid – the digital, interconnected networks that will provide us with a more modern, more efficient, and cleaner supply of power.
The smart grid will utilise a range of new technologies – with smart meters at the very centre of this chain – to allow for two-way communication between consumers and the energy network, enabling real-time, automatic responses to changing electric demand.
Using smart data to match supply with demand
Thanks to the mass of data collected by smart meters, distribution network operators will be armed with more accurate figures on the country’s energy use, and in turn will be able to better match energy supply with demand.
This means less investment will be needed to fortify the grid through the raising of energy bills, ultimately lowering power costs for consumers.
Enabling demand-side response
Currently, our system relies on sources of energy that can be easily turned up to meet peaks in demand. As it’s not possible to control the sun or wind in such a way, we have to rely on carbon-fuelled generation for constant back up.
Instead, by incentivising customers to use less energy when supply is low or demand is high, or use more – for example – when the wind is blowing, we will able to respond to demand better, as well as make more use of renewable, variable sources.
One way of doing this is through time-of-use tariffs. Smart meters facilitate this in the form of demand-side response; letting energy suppliers know accurate, real-time measures of demand, and notifying consumers when energy is cheap or expensive via visible price signals so they can save as much power (and money) as possible.
Promoting green technologies
Over the coming years, the development of smart technology will enable appliances to automatically switch on and off in response to demand and supply.
Smart meters, working alongside these connected devices, microgeneration technology and battery storage, will also open up the possibility for consumers who produce their own energy to have control over exactly when they use their energy, when they store it, and even when they can export it to the grid for profit.
Delivering the future of smart energy
Britain’s smart grid infrastructure is expected to deliver huge economic benefits in the UK, with an estimated potential of £13 billion of gross value added and £5 billion of potential exports by 2050, as well as creating over 9,000 jobs.
Our commitment to deliver next generation smart meters to homes and businesses isn’t the only way we are helping the country establish this future energy industry.
The smart grid – and the complicated new technologies and processes that come with it – will require a much greater need for energy services, as consumers look for help in adopting and managing new ways of using energy.
Our energy management team have been helping consumers evolve with the changing energy market for over two decades, and are now helping them adapt to and benefit from these exciting changes. Smart grid infrastructure will also need to be designed, installed and connected to the network – the rollout of EV charging points, for instance. Through our nationwide utility infrastructure and asset finance services, we are helping with that too.
Thanks to this rare breadth of expertise, SMS Plc is uniquely placed to deliver the future of smart energy.