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Old 06-08-2010, 06:21 PM
 
304 posts, read 618,530 times
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Does anyone know of any plans (or upgrade options) to get "smart" electric meters from the Austin Power co?
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
153 posts, read 462,934 times
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bpollard,

Firstly, let me preface my reply by saying I'm not a current Austin Energy Customer, so I can only tell you what I remember from being an AE customer and what I currently find about it on the web.

Austin Energy started the conversion to smart meters several years ago, earlier than most utilities. They call this phase "Smart Grid 1.0." Since Austin was an early adopter of the technology, Smart Grid 1.0 is not as smart as some of the newer deployments (for instance the Oncor meters in the Round Rock area). Smart Grid 1.0 is one-way only (e.g. automated meter reading) whereas Smart Grid 2.0 will be two-way, where your smart devices can interact with the even smarter meter. Supposedly, Austin completed or had planned to complete the conversion to all smart meters by August of last year.

One other smart device you can get from AE is a free programmably thermostat that is periodically cycled off by the city when peak demand is reached. I don't know much about the program other than that it exists, so I don't know how good or bad the deal is.

Here's some additional information:

AE Smart Grid website
AE Smart Grid presentation from March 2009
AE AMR meter program
Power Saver Free Thermostat Program
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
653 posts, read 1,614,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinizer View Post
bpollard,



One other smart device you can get from AE is a free programmably thermostat that is periodically cycled off by the city when peak demand is reached. I don't know much about the program other than that it exists, so I don't know how good or bad the deal is.
My experience, with these devices (which have been installed in my apartment) is that they do not really work well.
They may be causing issues with how the devices they are attached to work.

So far I have seen zero advantage.
I suspect the devices are faulty, but at any rate they give the Apartment management someone else to blame any AC issues on.

I do not think the one attached to my hot water heater works at all.
It is supposed to turn the heater off during peak demand times, but I have not seen any evidence it is doing this.
I have verified that the vacation setting it is supposed to have, does not work at all (this would have been very useful to me).
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,683 posts, read 17,319,123 times
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I am an Austin Energy customer -- although not actually in the city, but still within their service area. They replaced my meter with an electronic one (Landis+GYR) last summer. I've had no problems with it, the electric bills seem the same as before. Definitely didn't see some of the huge increases certain folks have reported when non-Austin Energy customers get the electronic meters.

Well, I guess I had one problem with it: I used to use a device called the Powercost Monitor (http://www.powercostmonitor.com/) to view realtime power usage. That really helps you see what appliances and things like lights and A/C cost you if you keep them running all the time. Unfortunately, the smart meter Austin Energy picked isn't compatible, so I can't use it anymore. And the city doesn't provide a real-time network monitoring capability (even though the meter can do it).
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
153 posts, read 462,934 times
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I think it's worth noting that we in the deregulated utility region of Texas (Oncor here in the Round Rock service area) also don't have any real-time monitoring capabilities yet. We get 15-minute interval data, but two days later, posted on the internet. Sometimes (now rarely), a chunk of time will show up as "estimated" rather than actual data. Our Landis & Gyr meters also have real-time two-way communications abilities, but the devices to get the real time information are not available yet. In fact, only a few people even get their delayed 15-minute data yet. Last I checked, out of 1 million smart meters, only 2000 customers had registered to view the information. Only a handful HAN devices (smart appliances that can communicate with the meter) had been provisioned, out of 1 million customers. So hang in there, change is coming, it's just not coming at light speed (or even electron speed).
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 43,843,483 times
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COA installed the smart meter on my house last year and I have not noticed any problems. I chart my electrical usage every month when I get the bill to watch for problems and have not seen any abnormalities in consumption, or in any other electronics devices in the house.
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