The 70,000 customers in PPL Electric service area in Monroe County are going to get their electric meters upgraded this year. PPL believes it will improve reliability by reducing the amount of time it takes crews to find problems and fix them.
How it works
RF frequencies are transmitted across the power grid in 15 minute intervals. The data is used to tell if power is out in a specific region because of fallen trees or other issues. Power will then be redirect to restore electricity to homes while crews fix the down line.
Time of day pricing
Time of day pricing may not be listed as one PPL’s objectives but smart meters make it possible Some view time of day pricing as a greedy grab for money which takes advantage of uninformed customers.
It is important for consumers to understand their plan now more than ever. Informed consumers will take advantage of lower rates at different times of day and rake in the savings.
Consumers in Texas are already using it. TXU, a Texas based electric company, started a free nights plan that gives customers free electricity from 10pm-6am. The plan does have higher rates during peak periods (1pm-6pm) than other plans.
Violation of privacy
Many Texas residents have fought the utility companies over smart meters. They claim it makes the grid acceptable to hackers and violate their privacy. The RF transmission could be intercepted then could be used to track when residents are out of the house.
Matching load and voltage used in the house to common household appliances can also tell hackers what residents are using in the home.
Monroe County residents will receive the benifets of PPL’s smart meter installations this year. PPL plans to install more meter across Pennsylvania in the following years.
I wrote an article about how I hacked into my own smart meter and could see my electricity usage online. The articles title is “Reliant Energy Customer Refuses Smart Meter, Demands Privacy.” Check it out.
Donny has been writing about the deregulated energy markets since early 2007. His knowledge has helped consumers lower their electricity cost.