Researching the launch of my consumption challenge I’ve learned about a really interesting device this week — the smart meter. It goes someplace visible inside the home, and it connects to the main power meter outside. The display shows more useful, specific and immediate information than the outside meter. I’ve not seen one in person, but it sounds like if you turn something on, you should immediately see a bump in usage on the smart meter.
Apparrently they are more widely used in the rest of the world.
What I think is cool about something like this is that it’s so immediate. Right now, at least to me, using electricity is kind of like overeating. I see the cookie and know it’s got more calories than I need, but hey, it won’t really matter until later when I can’t fit into my jeans. Likewise — sure, running the A/C at 65 degrees uses a heck of a lot of power, but hey, I won’t worry about it until I get that really high bill. The smart meter would step in sooner, an electrical Bob Greene if you will.
To my knowledge they are not widely available, but reps from both TXU and Reliant told me that they are testing these for later release here in TX.