Imagine viewing your checking account balance and debit card transactions only once a month, rather than on a daily or even hourly basis. This could lead to some unpleasant surprises! It’d be nearly impossible to identify trends in your spending habits to correct any mistakes.
While this scenario may seem far-fetched and unpleasant, it is exactly what occurs to many entrepreneurs who are not monitoring the electricity usage of their businesses. This problem affects everyone from large corporations to mom-and-pop retail stores and homeowners.
It used to be that business owners had no alternatives. But a trend is sweeping the nation: one-way analog electric meters are rapidly being replaced by digital smart meters, which are opening up a slew of energy-saving opportunities for businesses.
The Advantage of Smart Meters
As of July 2014, more than 50 million smart meters had been installed in the U.S., which accounts for 43 percent of households in the country.
Buildings – including offices, homes and stores – use 70 percent of our electricity nationwide. Many can waste energy needlessly, if not monitored and optimized for energy-efficiency and smart energy practices.
So why are smart meters important? No longer do utilities have to deploy resources to manually read meters. Also, electricity connections and disconnections can happen remotely. These savings can trickle down to customers in the form of lower rates.
But the biggest savings from this transformation occur thanks to the data that smart meters can provide the end-use customer.
Registering on Smart Meter Texas
In Texas, business owners can visit SmartMeterTexas.com to register their smart meters, which allows them to track their energy usage in 15-minute intervals. Like anything, the more data points you have, the easier it is to connect the dots and form a clearer picture of your overall energy usage.
But data alone doesn’t drive insights; presentation also helps, which is why SmartMeterTexas.com also displays a user-friendly usage chart:
Granular data on energy usage is a luxury that many business owners are not accustomed to, so how do you use such information to your advantage? Consider these scenarios:
- You’re a new business owner who has hired contractors to work on your storefront. You wonder if the contractors are wasting energy while they complete the job. Now you are able to remotely monitor all energy usage.
- Temperatures have spiked in the summer, causing your business’ HVAC unit to run around the clock. You know this will impact your electricity usage, and you don’t want to be startled by the end-of-month bill. Now you can stay on top of it in near real-time.
EnTouch Controls: Energy Management Made Easy
For businesses that want to take control of their energy usage a step further, one of the best-in-breed solutions is the EnTouch® Energy Management System (EMS). This easy-to-install product is Wi-Fi-enabled and provides business owners automated temperature controls via smart thermostat.
Businesses that enroll in our Green Mountain Energy® Smart for Small Business™ plan get an EnTouch Pro thermostat shipped to their door. We also offer customized solutions for businesses with multiple locations or more complex needs.
Savings and Environmental Impact
With the data and insights currently available to business owners due to smart meters, there are obvious cost savings to be had. After all, 30 percent of the energy used by commercial buildings is wasted, according to ENERGY STAR. And a recent NRDC study shows real-time energy monitoring can reduce more than 13 percent of energy use. Making adjustments to energy-efficient appliances, lights and electronics (and habits) can also save you dollars.
But equally important is the reduced environmental impact. Buildings emit more than 33 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than any other sector of the economy. Monitoring your usage can help prevent the need for new power plants and curb these carbon dioxide emissions.
Sounds like a smart move to us!