A smart meter is an electronic device that is installed at the consumer’s location and reports electricity use back to the utility for billing and monitoring. A smart meter may also be a device for recording natural gas or water consumption.
By reporting such data as time-of-day usage, smart meters allow price-setting agencies to introduce different usage prices based on the time of day and the season. Customers may be able to adjust their consumption and save money. Smart meters benefit the electric utility by eliminating manual meter reading and enabling faster system monitoring. The utility can balance electric loads to avoid power outages. The environment benefits when there is less new power plant construction and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.