'Smart' power meters track electricity use - Associated Press



Determined to cut his electricity bill, Darrell Brubaker took the usual steps of raising his air conditioner's thermostat and cooking more on the grill.

But the key to maximum savings — as much as 6 percent a month last summer — was his grasp of the state of the electrical grid and his family's willingness to adjust their power usage accordingly.

His utility, PPL Corp., is among a growing number of electricity providers that are testing pricing plans in which rates are set higher during the hours of peak demand, roughly following the curves of supply and demand in the wholesale energy markets.

As more utilities install "smart" power meters that track how much electricity flows into a home in real time, they are freer to offer alternatives to the average monthly rate that they traditionally charged to consumers.

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