According to East Memphis resident Cliff Henderson, the mature neighborhood with towering trees and exposed power lines he calls home can be susceptible to power outages. The potential for automated outage notification afforded by smart meters immediately appealed to him. So, he volunteered for the Smart Grid Demonstration in 2010.
Shortly after the demo started, Henderson realized there were other advantages. “I appreciated seeing what I used in real-time and not waiting 30 days out for my bill. It helped me optimize my behavior,” Henderson said of the web tools. Henderson feels others will benefit from the smart meters too. “I know it’s a change for people.” Comparing the traditional billing schematic with the smart meter information Henderson adds, “There’s such a time lag you don’t remember what you did. Having a smart meter is like a fuel gauge in your car – the smart meter gives you instant feedback on how much energy you have used.”
Henderson also volunteered for the time-of-use (TOU) rates. Optional TOU rates are cheaper during off-peak periods when demand is low and higher during on-peak times when demand is greater.
Armed with knowing how his household uses energy, Henderson went a step further and replaced the home’s original 25-year-old air conditioner and other less efficient appliances. “I was already mindful of controlling my thermostat. The smart meter gave me incentive to upgrade my appliances. I saw how these investments would pay for themselves in three or four years.”
Henderson’s investment is recouping about $926 annually. “I’d be upset if MLGW came and took my smart meter away,” Henderson declared.
To learn more about smart meters, go to www.mlgw.com/smartgrid.