Smart Meter Facts

You’ve probably heard about smart meter upgrades, as it’s been a hot topic for the past year. Although the government has said it wants every home in the UK to be fitted with a smart meter by 2020, you may want to know some smart meter facts before having one installed.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are a clever new upgrade for your gas/water and electric connections. These are innovative technology that replaces standard meters, which have become outdated. Standard meters require households to track their own usage and submit to suppliers in order to get an accurate bill. This is no longer necessary with smart meters. How?

With a smart meter, your energy usage will be automatically sent to your supplier through a secure national communication network (called the DCC). So you won’t have to rely on under or over-estimated bills from your supplier or take the trouble to record your own readings monthly. This will mean that you pay for your actual usage, can easily monitor how much you’re spending and cut down if necessary. You can examine what appliances are using the most energy and it will be a valuable cost-saving device when you see how much you’re spending on running a half load wash or leaving the water heater on all day.

How much will a smart meter cost?

The smart meter won’t directly cost you anything. Your energy supplier will install it and the cost is covered in your energy bill the same way normal installation and maintenance is.

When do I get a smart meter?

Approximately 6 million smart meters have been installed across the UK so far, as the main phase of the rollout began in late 2016. Many energy suppliers have been in contact with their customers at this point but if you haven’t heard anything, talk to your utility company to find out when your smart meter will be installed.

You can make an appointment and installation take around an hour. All professional installers should have undergone the correct training as laid out in the Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice, which determines national standards.

I’ve heard there are teething problems, why?

The first generation of smart meters, called SMETS1, have demonstrated some functionality issues when a customer switches energy provider. This means that the customer has to revert to manual meter readings until an upgrade will make the meter compatible again. All of these issues are expected to be resolved with the introduction of the next generation of smart meters next year.

Even if you have one of these smart meters and you have changed supplier, your smart meter is still providing real-time updates on your usage, which you’ll find on your in-home display. So, you can still monitor and adapt your usage based on these readings.

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