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For more information about the smart grid and smart meter upgrades, please call our Smart Grid Hotline at (808) 440-4977

Smart Grid and Smart Meters

Smart Grid and Smart Meter Benefits

We're modernizing the electric system by developing a more robust, 21st-century smart grid to better serve you.

Near-term benefits include:

  • Better ability to control your bills: Will allow you to monitor your energy use patterns and make informed adjustments that can reduce your consumption and lower energy expenses.
  • Faster power outage restoration: Smart meters act as sensors to detect power outages instantaneously and can assist with identifying pocket outages and improve restoration times with remote troubleshooting.
  • Cost savings: Will enable automated billing, improving operational efficiencies and reducing meter reading costs.
  • Greater convenience: Will allow meter readings to be done remotely. Meter readers will no longer need to enter your property, which means fewer interruptions for customers with gated access or guard dogs. Will also automate customer requests to turn new service on or shut off existing service with greater convenience through remote capabilities.
  • Time-of-Use rates to save money: Enables a more convenient means to offer time-of-use rates at a larger scale and expands existing time-of-use rate options by having greater access to energy use data based on time of day.
  • Less energy use and more savings: Reduces energy and fossil fuel use by more efficiently controlling the level of power delivered to customers needed to maintain reliable and safe power quality.
  • Better electricity theft detection

As the smart grid network expands, we envision other benefits for Hawaii's energy future.

Future benefits include:

  • More renewable energy: Improves efficiencies and more integration of renewables which will help us achieve Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy and will provide other benefits such as lower dependence on foreign oil, a lower carbon footprint and increased energy economic growth for Hawaii.
  • More options to lower bills: Enables more customer rate options and programs to help customers reduce their energy consumption and lower bills.
  • More customer-sited renewable resources: Supports more renewable distributed energy resources by providing more information about how renewable energy is impacting the grid.
  • Tools to reduce operating costs: Enables analytics and Distribution Automation to improve grid management and reduce operating costs.
  • New technology solutions: Makes it easier for future technology, such as energy storage, to integrate into the smart grid, to further increase distributed generation and reduce operating costs.

What is a Smart Grid?

A smart grid is a modern electricity grid that incorporates communications and information technologies to better manage how electricity is produced, consumed, stored and delivered. By collecting real-time data across the electric grid and enabling remote capabilities to make adjustments, a smart grid helps your energy provider to more effectively regulate fluctuations in power supply and demand and deliver power more efficiently. This gives the electric grid greater flexibility to integrate renewable energy and offer you more energy management tools and pricing options such as time-of-use rates.

What are Smart Meters?

Smart meters are modern electric meters that enable a two-way sharing of data between your home or business and the Hawaiian Electric Companies through a secure wireless communications network. Smart meters have a digital display and are similar in size to analog electric meters.

What can smart meters do differently?

  • Unlike old meters that require a person to physically read the meter for billing purposes, smart meters have the ability to capture and send electricity usage data to your electric company via wireless technology. This means fewer trucks on the roads, less gas consumed, and cost savings through improved operational efficiencies.
  • Energy use data can be collected in 15-minute intervals and uploaded to an energy management web portal that you can use to track your usage. This will allow you to better understand how different electronics and appliances contribute to your overall energy usage and how to make adjustments to better manage energy expenses.
  • A smart meter sends instantaneous alerts when power outages occur, allowing your electric company to locate and fix problems faster. Work crews can also send a signal to the meters to identify “pocket” outages (small sets of homes/businesses that sometimes remain out of power after majority of a circuit is restored) to ensure all customers are restored before leaving a job site.
  • Smart meters use radio frequency (RF) to communicate across the electric grid. RF is electromagnetic energy that includes frequencies used for everyday communications such as radio and TV broadcasting, cell phones and Wi-Fi routers. For more information on RF, click here.

How Does Smart Grid Technology Work?

Smart grid technology enhances the capabilities of the electric grid by:

  • Improving reliability: When outages take place, the smart grid and smart meters will communicate with each other and send an outage alert to your electric utility. This will allow us to quickly locate the problem area on the electric grid. In some cases, problems can be fixed remotely, allowing us to restore power to customers faster.
  • Providing customers with more information: Smart grid will provide you with daily updates on your energy use through a personalized online Web and mobile portal. You will have more information to help you better manage your electric bills. Learn more about how the "My Energy Use" portal works.
  • Integrating more renewable energy: Smart grids will provide system operators and engineers with data and tools needed to help achieve Hawaii's 100 percent renewable electricity goal by improving the safe and reliable integration of greater amounts of renewable energy. The smart grid will allow for greater flexibility to respond to changes in power flow produced by variable sources, such as wind and solar.
How Smart Grid Works