Playing With Smart Meter

How to monitor your home energy use using your smart meter and NV Energy’s webpage

Since I started this blog I’ve become an energy wonk. It’s an vitally important subject, from the global – how do we transition to generating our electricity from renewable resources? – to the most local of the local – my own home and our family budget.

NV Energy replaced customer’s analog meters with smart meters in 2011-2012. The process was not without controversy, with smart meter opponents showing up at PUC meetings to request the opportunity to opt out of the system, citing health and privacy concerns. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, about 9,000 out of 1.45 million customers have opted out of the program.

A smart meter collects energy use data digitally. Unlike traditional meters, it can transmit and receive data too. NV Energy’s smart meter records the amount of energy used every 15 minutes. Now that most customers have smart meters, how can we use them to operate our homes as energy-efficiently as possible?

I decided to find out.  To start, I went to NV Energy’s website and registered a username and and password. My account name came up, I  clicked on that and found myself on a dashboard page that gave all sorts of interesting information on how we use energy in our house.

How does my home compare?

I liked this one. In the 27 years we’ve owned our small house in Carson City, we’ve put a lot of work into making it as energy efficient as possible: we insulated the attic crawl space and water pipes, installed new dual-pane windows, switched to CFL lightbulbs and so on. It’s good to see it’s paid off.

 

Here’s what they told me: “ Congratulations! Your home uses less energy than most of the similar homes in your area matching your home energy profile.” Most energy suppliers will reward you for your low/economic consumption, so be sure to compare utilities its definitely worth it!

I wondered what used the most energy in our house, and this pie chart told me.

 

Food storage? That must be the refrigerator we bought with my first paycheck after we moved to Carson City. I clicked on “Control my costs” and got advice about how to operate my refrigerator most efficiently, and the estimated annual savings and cost of a new, energy-efficient model.

Actual Daily and Average Energy Use

 

January 31 is the day I did the laundry. Twice the kilowatt hours of the other days.

Electric Usage

I noticed my electricity usage went down this month. Why? I went to ‘Detailed Bill Comparison” and found this:

 

Energy by Day-of-Week

 

Why is Sunday so high? Must be our weekly Sunday dinner with my mom – usually we serve something that takes a long time on the stovetop or in the oven:

Show My Energy Use

 

What are those little blips between 12 am and 4 am? Must be when the refrigerator comes on.

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