Episode 104: We’re hearing a lot about “smart meters.” Just how smart are they?

How smart are smart meters? What do they do with the data they collect? In this episode of Energy Bite we’ll learn the answers from Granger Morgan, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Co-Director of the Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making and Co-Director of the Electricity Industry Center.

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Transcript

HOST INTRO: We’re hearing a lot these days about “smart meters.” Just how smart are they? On this week’s Energy Bite, Granger Morgan, a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

DR. GRANGER MORGAN: Today most smart meters actually aren’t very smart. In the past your power company had to send a meter reader out once a month to record the numbers on your meter, so the company could send you a bill. Today smart meters automatically send those numbers directly to the company.

HOST If a meter is sending out information all the time about my electricity use, should I be worried about privacy?

DR. GRANGER MORGAN: Yes, privacy can be concern. So companies need to use good encryption and data protection. Many smart meters also have the ability to shut off power to a home, so if companies don’t take care, hackers could cause some real inconvenience.

HOST: To most people the word “smart” means “intelligent.” Just sending messages to the power company doesn’t sound very smart.

DR. GRANGER MORGAN: Partly the use of the word smart is just hype. In the future, smart meters should be able to help you manage how you use electricity, and save you a bit of money.

When there is a shortage of power they should also be able to control big loads to reduce the risk of blackouts, without disrupting the quality of the services that you get.

HOST: Do you have a smart meter? If it saved you money would you want one? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

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