Smart meters are considered to be the backbone of Smart Grid deployment — the first move into two-way communication between power providers and their customers. Smart meters provide better real-time information to utilities about the quality of power supply and the customer demand for electricity and gas at any given moment.
Based on actual deployments of smart meters globally, those benefits translate into more reliable service, streamlined billing, and reduced power loss. For consumers, use of smart meters makes understanding their consumption information easier, can help them better manage their costs, and removes the inconveniences associated with switching suppliers. More importantly, smart meters promote energy conservation.
Finally, if meters for electricity, gas, and water leverage common communications methods, there can be significant benefits to each of the serving utilities by providing a platform that supports the metering requirements along with other critical monitoring functions. However, those benefits will hinge upon the reliability, interoperability, life span and ultimately the long-term cost-savings of the meters and the associated communication infrastructure.