Monday, August 6, 2012

Smarter Texans

More than 5.5 million electric smart meters have been installed across Texas.  This has been driven by a 2007 law directing that such meters "be deployed as rapidly as possible to allow customers to better manage energy use and control costs."  Federal grants aimed at creating a smart grid also supported this effort.

Texas has started on their water meters.  Approximately 3.5 million electronic and automatic water meters had been installed as of 2010.  The City of Arlington has installed 17,000 meters in a pilot project.  Two important points.  The new water meters will no longer require meter readers to go from yard to yard.  The new smart water meters have transmitters that send signals to a collection hub (Lower cost).  The second point - - the new meters also make it easier to detect leaks, because a utility can see whether a household is using large amounts of water in the dead of night, when few people would normally use it (Higher water productivity).

Both the smart electric and smart meters should focus managers and engineers on an important fact - - our energy and water problems are driven more by a lack of information than a lack of energy or a lack of water.  Better information solves a host of problems and constraints.  Asset management has two parts.  The "asset" and "management" - - better information makes for much better management.

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