Who does the smart meter really benefit consumers or the power sector?

British National Television reported high profits earned by certain power sectors. This sprinkled salt on the user's wounds - some of the power companies are still talking about a 10% increase in prices this winter.

This is a timely report. Many people began to feel the winter cold and turned on the heating. So what about smart energy metering? Does it help consumers? Or is it just the way the power sector sends electricity bills more efficiently?

The United Kingdom is planning to install a large number of smart meters by 2016. Wireless solutions are very critical in the UK, considering the overall structure of their power utilities and grid operators, wireless M2M devices are the most likely technology options.

Plan is in progress

Some manufacturers plan to ship wireless smart meters next year. As telecommunications companies see this business opportunity is maturing in the United States, BT is also likely to follow the trend and make the price of the meter business competitive. IMS Research’s recent report “2011 smart meter global market” has some analysis.

The report predicts that the United Kingdom and the United States will experience the highest peak of wireless smart meter shipments by 2016, for obvious reasons. In the United States, telecommunications companies have reduced the cost of meter data services, and each meter costs no more than $1/month. Power companies are beginning to realize that they can cut up to 40% of their investment expenditures and reduce operating expenses through public telecom operators.

In the United Kingdom, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced that it will install smart meters for all households by 2020. Although outsiders worry about whether such speed is appropriate, whether it will bring greater risks to consumers.

The British plan will involve the replacement of electricity meters for 27 million households, starting from 2012. The UK's energy consumer regulators have asked to ensure that accelerated deployment will not harm consumers' rights or threaten consumers' opportunities. Consumer protection groups fear that there is no proper monitoring system yet.

The UK government's project evaluation has begun and they are assessing whether there is a positive business case for smart meters in the country. These analyses focus on the potential costs and spread smart metering benefits for meter suppliers, network operators, users, and the UK as a whole. The latest assessment of the Ministry of Energy and Climate Change estimates that the deployment of smart meters in the UK will cost 10 billion pounds, and these costs will be distributed to consumers through electricity bills.

The Ministry of Energy and Climate Change also naively stated that the costs saved by electricity suppliers will also be passed on to consumers. However, industry observers believe that such a prediction is too simplistic.

Consumer consumer groups such as ConsumerFocus said that there is currently no transparent plan to limit the financial risks of consumers, and there is no way to ensure that the fees imposed on consumers through electricity bills are fair and reasonable.

The United States

The U.S. Negotiable Energy Economic Committee has evaluated 36 different residential smart meters and feedback programs around the world. This extensive study concluded that in order to realize the cost savings in the future, smart meters must be combined with home (or online) display, well-designed notification, participation, authorization, and incentive processes.

The energy industry and consumer groups have teamed up to hold social marketing campaigns to help increase awareness of smart meters and allow consumers to understand and support the information they need to know to be more energy efficient.

Can technology be competent?

According to SierraWireles, the power sector will choose to implement 3G broadband network services, including Wideband CDMA (W-CDMA), HSDPA, and EVDO RevA.

In CDMA networks, EVDO equipment is more common than 1xRTT. However, 1xRTT will still be a smart metering option, because it is cheaper and does not require high-speed data transmission.

There is no doubt that communication technology is fully satisfactory and feasible. But there are more important issues that require clear answers.

Can smart meters guarantee a reliable life of up to 20 years without requiring major repairs or expensive parts replacement? Will standard operating protocols be used to ensure compatibility when changing grid equipment? Wireless transmission of user data security how to protect? Does the smart meter ultimately lead to energy savings?

Smart meters have arrived and winter has arrived. I want to know which one will make consumers tremble.