An advanced solid-state meter that includes remote communication of data is often called a smart meter. A smart meter offers the ability to measure and store data such as power quality or energy usage and demand at any time of the day and make the data accessible in real time or near-real time. And if connected to an automated meter reading (AMR) system, smart meters can communicate and provide data via the Internet or other communication systems to multiple parties.
Smart meters connected to an AMR system often include power outage monitoring and automatic notification to the utility when the power is out. When connected to advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which provides for two-way signals, a smart meter may also provide a remote disconnect switch that allows the utility to connect or disconnect service without dispatching a crew. They may also include a feature that limits the maximum demand or the maximum usage for a customer that is on a pre-pay service.
Many utilities are working to develop new services enabled by smart meters such as price-based demand response programs that offer customers payments in return for curtailing power usage during high-price times.