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Smart Meters
updated: Nov 27, 2012, 3:35 PM

By Robert Price

After all the tumult over the smart meters this year I thought it would be nice to show what the meters are capable of. When we got our October electricity bill we were surprised to find a large jump in our usage. October was colder and we have a new addition to our family but we also replaced some major appliances so I wasn't sure where we were using so much more energy. I was concerned that our new energy efficient appliances were not so efficient after all.

So I logged on the the smart meter page and found that I could download the usage data for every hour of every day since June when our meter was installed. After some data formatting I was able to pop the data into Excel and graph our energy usage by each hour for each day of each month. I found it to be very detailed.

First I graphed all the data for each hour of every day for June through October:

I can see some AM spikes for October that I do not see for the other months but it is noisy so I plotted the data for each month, again at an hourly basis adding an hourly average line. Most months resembled September's profile:

Then when I graphed October's hourly usage I could clearly see the increased usage is in the early morning hours:

For us, this definitively answered the question as to where our increased electricity usage was coming from, and thankfully it is not from our new energy efficient appliances Rather at the beginning of October we had also purchased a small space heater for our baby's room which we only used at night. With this data in hand we were able to increase the household thermostat a touch, which uses natural gas, and decrease the temperature on the space heater and reduce its usage. Overall we have been able to reduce our electricity usage while maintaining a reasonably comfortable temperature in our baby's room thanks to the powerful data collected by our smart meter.


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