Smart meter (left) next to standard meter (right)
Smart electrical meters,
also known as interval meters or time-of-use meters,
replace standard meters
and provide more detailed information on electricity use.
Whereas a standard meter records only a running total
electricity passing through it,
a smart meter records the total electricity flow
in each of a series of consecutive intervals of time,
such as hours.
Typically smart meters report metering information
to the local utility where it is stored on a computer.
Smart meters enable
time-of-use and real-time metering,
which allow charges and credits for electricity consumption and production
to be pegged to the time-varying value of the electricity.