Our Energy InSightSM system features digital smart meters with two-way communications able to send and receive information to and from consumers and CenterPoint Energy. These meters capture not only electricity consumed, but also surplus electricity generated by distributed generation sources such as solar panels or wind turbines. CenterPoint Energy can read these meters remotely. The meters also measure usage in 15-minute intervals, which can give consumers valuable information about their consumption habits while allowing Retail Electric Providers (REPs) to offer new services such as time-of-use rates.
Energy InSight is more than a meter, however. It’s a complex system that integrates many technologies. Data is transmitted from the meters to cell relays, which are wireless devices installed on power distribution poles. Cell relays pick up signals from meters in the vicinity and transmit the data via radio to a “Take out Point (TOP).” TOPs collect data from cell relays within a several-mile radius and deliver it via microwave or fiber optic cable to CenterPoint Energy’s data center, where computing systems gather and process 96 daily reads per meter. (View six-minute video: How to Build an Advanced Metering System ).
Smart meters automate not only meter reading but also electric service connection and disconnection, which can help reduce the time to have new electric service connected or to switch REPs. In the future these new meters will also automatically notify CenterPoint Energy when the power goes out. As an added benefit, smart meters will also enable communication with future smart appliances in homes and businesses.