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Using Smart Meters to track your electricity usage

May 18, 2012

Though smart meters have been getting a lot of media attention recently, only a handful of customers belonging to the deregulated regions of Texas actually use them. However, before going into the details of how these devices can help consumers of Texas electricity, let’s take a look at what they are all about.

What are Smart Meters

Transmission and distribution utilities of the state use these digital devices to calculate electric consumption. Also called digital meters or advanced meters, these devices are substituting the old analog boxes, which you can find attached to the outside of business offices and homes.

How to use Smart Meters

You should register a new account online at https://www.smartmetertexas.com. For this, you will need your smart meter number and the EISD number for your apartment or home. You will also need your Smart Meter ID, which you can find listed on the right side of your electricity meter attached to the outside your home. You can check your monthly bills or log into your account with your electricity provider to get the EISD number. It is this unique EISD number that your TDSP (Transmission and Distribution Service Provider) and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) use to track your electricity consumption, which is then linked to your bill.

Once you have all the above mentioned information, you can log in with your username, and click the Usage link to see your home’s usage. Usually, the information listed is almost 2 days behind the actual date. For example, if you log in on a Wednesday, you can see your usage information from Monday.

To get an idea of your Texas electricity usage, you can select three types of graphs. The monthly usage graph displays the monthly electricity consumption of your household and goes back an entire year. For an overview of the month, you can see the graph showing daily totals, where a summary of usage for every day is shown side by side for the past month. Another graph, showing 15 minute segment breakdowns, can be used to ascertain the hours when your usage of electricity becomes much more or much less than the average consumption.

Advantages of Smart Meters

By making you aware of your electric consumption, the smart meters can help you to plan and budget for your utilities better.  Though you may try to lower your Texas electricity bills with conservation, you start looking at things differently when you have real data in front of your eyes. Starting from knowing whether you are using more electricity in the mornings or evenings, to taking steps for cutting down your bills by planning your laundry in the weekends, remembering to turn the fans and lights off when you are not in the room, or investing money to buy energy efficient drapes, you become more earnest in your endeavors and can make well-informed decisions.

Conclusion

Even though some Texas electricity consumers are against the smart meters, you can benefit a lot from them if you learn to use them the right way and make decisions based on the data displayed by them.

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