Smart Meter

 

If you live in a house, somewhere on it should be an electric meter. It might be hard to find it if you live in an apartment building. Some electric meters are the older types, called "analog (AN-A-LOG)" meters. Those meters have a disc that spins when electricity is being used. They also have dials on them that track how much electricity your family uses. The dials look like the ones below.

analog meter dials

 

My house has a smart meter. These are also called "advanced meters." Smart meters are great, because they allow the electric company to read my electric usage each month without having to send a person to my house. The smart meter sends the information to them over a wireless signal. The wireless signal is similar to a cell phone or wireless internet connection. Since the electric company doesn't have to send a person out to read my smart meter, they save money on things like gas for their trucks. The smart meter below has a digital screen that shows the amount of electricity used. It's much easier to read than the old analog meter.

smart meter

But smart meters can help you and me save money too. With the new smart meters in Texas, some people can check their electric usage online with a computer. If we know when we use a lot of electricity, we can make changes to the things we do at home and save money on our electric bills!

Even if you are not able to check your electicity usage online, you can write down the numbers from your meter on one day, and then write down the numbers again at the same time on the next day. Subtract the smaller number from the larger number, and that is how much electricity was used. Electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours. So if the first day's numbers were 5000, and the second day's numbers were 5600, your family used 600 kilowatt-hours in a day.

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Fun Fact!

A normal (40-watt) light bulb will use about one kilowatt-hour if it is left on all day.

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More and more smart meters are replacing the old analog meters because of all the savings they provide us. If your home doesn't have a smart meter yet, you can ask your parents to call your electricity provider to find out if you will be getting one.

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