The Public Utility Commission has launched a new website called www.SmartMeterTexas.com that allows customers to track their energy usage in 15-minute increments to better understand their usage patterns and potentially decrease their electricity consumption and costs. After several years of behind the scenes work, this is the first step in smart grid, or advanced meter technology that’s being rolled out.
The website is only available to customers that have had digital smart meters installed, of course. Have your most recent electric bill on hand when you log in to establish proper identification. As of Tuesday, 1 million customers in the Oncor and Centerpoint territories can use the site — and eventually more than 6.3 million Texans will be able to manage their energy use through the site.
This is the first step towards an exciting energy future where you’ll be able to view your electricity use through a browser on your smart phone and turn off or on the electricity flow to various devices. In the future you will be able to work with energy management partners (such as Google) and your retail electric provider to help better manage your use and reduce your energy consumption. In this not-so-distant frame, you’ll be able to tell if Junior left the TV on and turn it off from afar (and send him a nagging text message of course). Or maybe you realize you’re getting off work early; you’ll be able to go ahead and set your thermostat so the house will be nice and cool by the time you get home. The technological possibilities of smart meters will eventually offer us radically more control of our energy use, which will decrease overall pollution from power plants, the need for new power plants to be built, and of course our energy costs. (more…)