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Video: Separating the Facts from the Fiction about Smart Meters

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A Smarter Power Grid

From the Internet to our cell phones and televisions, digital technology has become the standard for transmitting information, offering the instant communication we've all come to depend on. Now, digital technology is coming to the power grid that delivers our electricity. You've probably heard this updated grid called “the smart grid,” but no matter what it's called – the smart grid or the digital grid – what matters most is how it will serve you better. And the bottom line is, you'll be able to manage your energy use and costs better than ever.

To understand how this will happen, start with the fact that your home's new digital meter will let information flow back and forth between your home and Duke Energy. That means information about your energy use will be transmitted in near-real time and available to you through your home computer, your smart phone or technology such as a home energy manager. As a result, you won't have to wait for a monthly bill to check on your usage. Instead, you'll be able to monitor your previous day's usage and, if you want, modify the ways you and your family are using electricity to better control costs. How you use the information is completely up to you – and only you, since the new grid gives consumers, not utility companies or the government, more power over energy choices.

Better control over your energy use and costs is just one of the advantages the  modernized grid will offer almost immediately. Another includes greater reliability throughout the entire power distribution network helping both prevent and pinpoint power outages in events such as storms. In addition, the modern day  grid will mean that Duke Energy representatives will no longer need to enter homes or come onto your property to read meters. Occasionally, we may need to have access to the meter for routine maintenance, but we'll let you know before we arrive. And the new technology will make flexible billing and payment options available to many.

Looking Ahead

In the future, the new grid will mean you can track exactly which appliances and equipment are costing you the most in energy use, letting you make changes to save on costs. Plus you'll be able to program your heating and cooling system, dishwasher, water heater and other appliances for greater efficiency. The technology  will  let you control your thermostat and appliances remotely and even alert you when you're approaching your own designated monthly energy budget.

As it helps us all manage our personal energy consumption and costs, the new grid also has great potential to benefit our environment by helping to lower energy demand and reduce the need for additional power plants. What's more, it will support the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. Furthermore, it will enable the nationwide use of plug-in  electric vehicles. And it will make large-scale energy storage a reality.

Duke Energy is dedicated to helping us all take control of how we use energy, and the new grid is vital to making this possible. Just as technology has enhanced our lives in countless other ways, the digital grid will lead to improvements we are only beginning to envision. As we utilize this advanced technology, we're excited about shaping the future of energy use together with you.