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With already 32 days reaching over 100 degrees this summer, Oklahoma is certainly feeling the heat. But smart meters -- just one of the advanced technologies being used to modernize the grid -- are helping Oklahoma businesses and home owners beat high electricity bills not only during these summer months, but year-round.
Small business owner Steve Kaplan told ABC News’ “Show Me the Money” on Good Morning America that he's saving over $320 per month compared to last summer at his Native Roots Market in Norman, Oklahoma, thanks to Oklahoma Gas & Electric's (OG&E) new Smart Meter program.
The utility-provided meters give consumers real-time information on how their energy use affects their energy costs. This helps consumers see how and when they can save big, since OG&E has also introduced a two-tiered pricing system -- you get a discount during lower usage times, but pay more during peak hours.
"It actually gives us control over what we pay for our electricity in a sense, which is sort of unprecedented, if you think about it," says Matt Runkle, co-owner of Native Roots Market. Peak hours in Oklahoma are 2pm to 7pm, which means home owners can save by pre-cooling their houses before peak hours or saving chores -- like running the dishwasher or washing machine -- for after 7pm.
Kaplan tells ABC News that in addition to his savings at his business, he has saved 48% on his home electricity bill.
The Energy Department's Smart Grid Investment Grant program is helping OG&E deploy 771,000 meters to customers, in addition to in-home consuls and dynamic price response programs that can help consumers save and advanced distribution technologies that will make our grid more reliable. The OG&E project received $130 million and is the one of the largest of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s 99 Recovery Act SGIG projects.
Smart Meters are now in a majority of states and other power companies are starting to introduce the two-tiered pricing system as well.
Find out how else you can save on your electricity bill by visiting EnergySavers.gov, and visit SmartGrid.gov to learn more about modernizing our grid for the 21st century. You can watch ABC News’ "Show Me The Money" on GMA here.