Data from smart meters is providing electric cooperatives with ways to lower their consumer-members’ bills by making their homes more energy efficient, reported the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
“Automated metering infrastructure—or AMI technology—is a great tool for energy audits,” said Keith Dennis, NRECA’s vice president of consumer member engagement. “Even without visiting the home, good data can help identify problems so co-ops can offer members ways to save money.”
With authorized access from the consumer, a co-op energy adviser can look at usage patterns and determine if major systems like heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment; water heaters; and well or irrigation pumps are running normally or are in need of repair.
“A co-op energy adviser can compare your home’s energy use to that of a similar-size home, and with information you provide on family size, schedules and lifestyle, they can determine if you are using more energy than a similar household,” Dennis said. “If your usage is consistently more than average, perhaps it’s time to consider repairs or upgrades to your HVAC system, new windows or insulation, or water heater replacement.”
Co-ops are completing deployment of AMI technology even as their members buy and install more smart devices. That’s creating more opportunities for savings and providing consumers proactive controls of their energy use.
“When huge spikes occur, knowing which systems might be at fault can determine when changes and upgrades are needed,” Dennis said.
Co-op energy advisers have the expertise to help members determine which improvements could yield the most potential savings and identify other issues, he said.
Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative usage data is available for members through the TVEC Member Portal or the myTVEC mobile app.