One of the best benefits of having a smart meter is being able to track your electricity consumption in real time and instantly adjust your behavior to reduce your use. Instead of seeing the amount of energy you used in a month when you receive your bill, with a smart meter you can track what time of day you use the most electricity and then take steps to adjust your consumption.
To empower Texans to have more control over their energy bills, the Public Utility Commission created the Smart Meter Texas website that allows residents and business to monitor their usage in real time.
Setting Up Your Smart Meter Texas Account
In order to see your daily electricity consumption, you need to sign up for an account at SmartMeterTexas.com by clicking the “New User Register” button in the upper right corner.
Here’s what you’ll be asked to provide:
- Email address
- Current retail electric provider (the company that sends your electric bill)
- ESI ID number (found on your electric bill)
- Meter number (found on your electric bill)
The site is available in English and Spanish.
Once you create a username and enter the necessary information, Smart Meter Texas sends you a confirmation email with a temporary password. You then log in and change your password, select a security question and provide an answer.
Accessing Your Smart Meter Data
After you’ve set up your account, navigate to your data by clicking “Usage” in the top menu. You can then begin to digest your electricity consumption.
Smart Meter Texas allows you to view your usage in three different ways:
- A particular day’s usage shown in 15-minute intervals
- Daily meter reads for a span up to 30 days
- Monthly meter reads
Note that there is about a two-day lag in the data available on the graph. For instance, the graph will show Monday’s data two days later on Wednesday. Want to know what your meter is currently reading? Click the button under the graph that says “On Demand Read.” Note that after clicking the button, you have to refresh the page before your current reading appears.
Smart Meter Texas does allow you to export your data in CSV and XML formats. All reports are sent to you via email and can take some time depending on the amount of data you’re exporting.
Reading Your Smart Meter Data – What To Look For
With all this data at your fingertips, where do you start? Begin by looking at the big picture.
“Monthly Usage” Report Type: Which months do you use the most electricity? Are there any big jumps in usage? If the peak of your consumption happens during the hot summer months, then you want to think about appliances you use the most during this time, namely your air conditioning unit and possibly your pool pump if you have a swimming pool.
Air conditioning is the biggest energy hog for Texas residents, consuming about one-fourth of all residential energy.
If your household uses the most energy during the summer, then consider investing in a highly efficient, Energy-Star certified air conditioner. If that’s been recently replaced or installed, then make sure that you’re doing preventative maintenance to get the most out of it, such as regularly changing air filters and clearing debris away from the outside unit.
“Daily Meter Reads” Report Type: Identify the low consumption days and then look on your calendar to try to determine what could have caused that. Were you out of town or out of the house all day? Did you leave most of the lights or TV off? Was the weather close to the temperature you set on your thermostat?
Conversely, what days did you use the most electricity? Were you at home on those days? Doing a lot of laundry? Was the weather extreme? If you weren’t home during the spikes, then investing in a programmable thermostat could help curb consumption when you’re not home.
“Daily Usage (15 min intervals)” Report Type: What time of day do you use the most electricity? Is there anything you can do to adjust your consumption? For instance, taking shorter showers could help decrease water heating costs, as well as the electricity used to run your bathroom fan and air conditioner.