At a high level, Smart Meters are a part of Smart Grids.
Smart meters perform the following:
– two-way communications
– recording of interval data on energy usage
– delivery of data to the utility at least daily,
– disconnect switch
– power quality sensing for voltage
– A two-way communications module to talk to smart thermostats, in-home displays, smart appliances and smart equipment in customer homes and businesses.
These features empower consumers with time-based pricing options, such as Peak Time Rebates and Time-of-Use prices, and detailed energy usage, cost, and carbon information, including monthly usage and bill to date. These features also enable utilities to manage better their line voltage and line losses.
On the other hand, Smart Grids start by automating meters and continue with automating the power delivery system. The latter means adding automated sensors and devices on power lines and in substations (the transmission and distribution grid). This automation allows for remote monitoring and control of the grid, more efficient operations, greater reliability through automatic restoration after outages (“self-healing”), and other benefits.
The term “Smart Grid,” also refers to the wires, transformers, and other devices on the power delivery side.