How Do Smart Meters Compare To Analog And Digital?

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The News Channel 3 Investigators decided to separate fact from fiction, so we put the three types of meters MLGW currently uses to the test.

This was a controlled test at an MLGW facility and News Channel 3 cameras recorded 24/7 to make sure nobody could tamper with the meters.

Here's how the meters record how much energy you use:

First, the analog meter.

"You have a stater, which calculates your consumption," MLGW's Anthony Wilson said.

Digital and smart meters are similar.

They read your energy use -- also known as kilowatt hours -- with capacitors.

Smart Meters send usage information directly to MLGW.

As of now, there's no scientific proof smart meters cause health problems, although there's also no proof they don't.

What News Channel 3 was looking to see if a smart meter will force your bill to go up.

In our week-long test, MLGW sent an extra heavy load through the system to simulate what an average customer uses in a month.

The amount of energy the meters read rises in the video. The numbers are pretty similar on all three meters.

We had them run non-stop for 96 hours.

With the analog meter, your bill would be $207.40

The digital meter adds up to $205.09

The smart meter would charge you $205.38

All three numbers are within MLGW's two percent margin of error.

The smart meter also lets you monitor how much energy you're using.

You can also choose to sign up for a time of use program, which charges you different rates depending on when you're using the most energy.

Bill Comparison
kWh On kWh Off kWh Bill Amount
Analog (with standard rate) 2227 $207.40
Digital (with standard rate) 2203 $205.09
Smart (with standard rate) 2206 $205.38
Smart (with Summer TOU rates)* 2206           -           - $9.60
Smart (with Winter TOU rates)* 2206           -           - $9.60
Smart (with Transition TOU rates)* 2206           -      2,206 $180.30
Smart (with Summer TOU rates and on-peak kWh shifted 25% to off-peak)* 2206           -      2,206 $173.09
Smart (with Winter TOU rates and on-peak kWh shifted 25% to off-peak)* 2206           -      2,206 $180.30
*Used the proposed October-2013 TOU rate schedule.
* Summer TOU has the highest on-peak cost period.  Rates are lower in Winter and Transition periods.
* A typical residential customer would have more summer on peak usage than this simplified example.