Smart meters are a next generation meter for both gas and electricity. They are a replacement for standard meters, which require you to track your own meter readings and submit them to your supplier to ensure accurate bills.
Smart meters use a secure national communication network (called the DCC) to automatically and wirelessly, send your actual energy usage to your supplier. If you have a smart meter you don't need to rely on estimated energy bills or provide your own regular readings.
Smart meters can also come with an in-home display. This display gives you real-time usage information.
There are several advantages to having smart meters installed:
More accurate bills
Smart meters mean the end of estimated bills, the end of having to remember to provide meter readings and/or have a stranger come into your home to read your meter.
Better understanding of your usage
With the smart meter display, you can see the direct impact your habits and lifestyle have on your bill. This is particularly useful if you have a prepayment meter, so you can better track how your usage impacts your available credit. By making your energy usage easier to understand, you can make smarter decisions to save energy and money.
Bringing Britain's energy system into the 21st century
Smart meters are part of the effort to create a smart grid, which is part of providing low-carbon, efficient and reliable energy to Britain's households.
Below are a few commonly asked questions about Smart Meters...
Why do I need one?
Whilst it is not legally compulsory to have a smart meter in your home, having one allows your energy provider to ensure you are on a tariff that is right for you, reduces the need for estimated readings and the in-home display allows you to manage your energy use better.
Why are the government making everyone get one?
Smart meters are not compulsory. The Government hope smart meters will help us manage our energy systems more efficiently, making it easier for homes to reduce their energy consumption.
Does it need to be supplied by my current energy provider?
No, once you have a smart meter, as long as it is working and is the correct type for your new provider it shouldn't need replacing. Always check with your energy provider directly.
What if it stops working?
If your smart meter stops working you will either be contacted by your energy supplier to inform you or you will start to receive estimated meter readings. You may need to provide manual meter readings to your supplier until they are able to fix or replace the meter.
What data does it collect?
Your smart meter collected information on your energy consumption. It takes regular energy readings and sends them directly to your provider so you don't have to. It does not collect or store any personal or financial information.
Do I need the internet to have one?
No, All smart meters use a national wireless communication network to send information to your energy supplier. So, even if you do not have an internet connection in your home, a smart meter will still work.
How much does it cost?
Nothing, the install of your smart meter will be done by your energy provider free of charge. But with the end of estimated energy readings it could help save you money!
What does the display mean?
With the smart meter display or In Home Display (IHD), you can see the direct impact your habits and lifestyle have on your bill. By making your energy usage easier to understand, you can make smarter decisions to save energy and money.
How can I make best use of my smart meter?
You can also use the in-home display to keep an eye on your energy use, this can help identify any habits you can change to help use less energy.
What if I unplug the display screen does the meter still work?
Yes, the display is not the smart meter, your energy company will still be able to receive your meter readings.
Does a Smart meter mean higher bills?
No, having a smart meter means that you are only paying for what you use, no estimated readings. It won't necessarily save you money, but it will give you more information on how you use energy - which could help to change behaviour and reduce costs.
Are Smart Meters another way to spy on us?
No- only your energy company will collect your consumption data, it can't be shared with other providers without your consent. The information they collect help the energy provider that you have chosen to bill you more accurately for your energy.
Can you switch energy suppliers with a smart meter?
Yes, just give your new supplier a call and they will talk you through what you need to do, if anything!
Is the display I have in my home a smart meter?
No, this is your IHD or In Home Display, this is linked to your smart meter to allow you to interact with the data it is collecting but the smart meter does not require the IHD to function.
How do I know if I have a smart meter?
No longer having your meter read, not being asked to provide meter readings and not receiving estimated bills are other strong indicators that you have a smart meter. If you're not sure, then you can check on this database here - you will need to have a bill handy with your meter numbers