b sm glossary

Some Useful Terminology

Smart Meter

Just like the old electromechanical meters on most homes and businesses in Alameda, Smart meters will record energy consumption for billing purposes. The Smart meter looks like the old electromechanical meter located on the side of your house or garage. The difference with Smart meters is that they can record consumption in shorter intervals (for example, once a day, once a week or once a month), and then communicate that information back to the utility – and the customer – using a low-power, two-way radio.


AMI stands for Smart Metering Infrastructure. AMI meters, also known as Smart meters, are updated, digital versions of the tradition electrical meter attached to the outside of a home or business and use two-way communication to send and receive information between the utility and the meter.


AMR stands for Automatic Meter Reading. It is an older technology that only collects electrical energy consumption and transfers that data from the electric meter on the home to the utility (one-way communication).

Real Time Data

The ability to collect data automatically on demand and have the data delivered and analyzed quickly enough to effect monitoring and control decisions. This can be data directly collected from the meter or logically derived from data in the database. It’s a key component in smart grid technology.

Remote Disconnect

Disconnecting and reconnecting a customer’s electrical service without accessing the customer’s premises or sending a service vehicle into the field.

Smart Grid

A term that describes the use of digital technology and two-way communications to improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric system. With its Smart monitoring and control capabilities, the Smart Grid can identify problems instantly and route electricity around them to minimize outages. Electric utilities across the country and around the world have been moving toward achieving Smart Grid through investments in infrastructure and equipment.

Time of Use (TOU)

Describes the different rates charged by some utilities for electricity at different times of the day. TOU is just one of the options supported by Smart metering technology.

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