There is lots of great information on smart meters from Smart Energy GB, the campaign for the smart meter rollout here
Smart meters are the new generation of meters, being fitted by energy suppliers in all 26 million homes in Scotland, England and Wales. They represent the biggest revolution in domestic energy billing in decades; the energy industry sees this as an essential 21st century upgrade to an outdated system.
There is no cost to you as a customer for having a smart meter, the cost of the rollout will be spread across everyone's bills, just as the cost of running and maintaining today's traditional meters are. The new deadline for offering every household a smart meter is 2024. By 2030, savings to customers from having smart meters are expected to total £18 billion.
Although you are not compelled to take smart meters, the industry hopes that promoting their benefits will push take-up close to 100%. By 31 March 2020, 16.5 million smart meters (working fully in ‘smart mode’) were in homes in Great Britain i.e. around one third of all domestic meters.
Smart meters replace traditional meters and communicate with a portable screen (the ‘in-home display’) to show householders how much energy is used very close to real time and the cost of this. Smart meters also automatically and securely send frequent meter readings to energy suppliers. This guarantees accurate billing, with no more need for manual meter readings and the guesswork of estimated bills or statements.
Some Case studies of householders who have seen the benefits and love their smart meters can be found here
Installation should take less than an hour. To prepare, you should
After installation, you should reset clocks and trip switches.
The in-home display which comes with a smart meter gives you clear and comprehensive information on where you are using energy, thereby informing decisions on reducing energy usage, saving money, reducing your carbon footprint and so helping tackle climate change. It clearly shows:
If you are a prepayment customer, you no longer need to access your meters to read them or insert a key or card. The in-home display will show your balance; you can top-up online, by phone or text message, using a smartphone app or in person at a local shop.
Personal trainer Zanna van Dijk used the data on her in-home display unit to make significant energy savings. Here is how she did it.
In particular, elderly people, people on low incomes and people with disabilities benefit from smart meters. Ade Apeditan, a TV presenter who uses a wheelchair, excplains more about this here
In the longer term, ‘the smart grid’ will offer cheaper tariffs at times of low demand. Technology will then transform home energy as appliances interact with smart meters e.g. a dishwasher set to operate when electricity is cheapest, or a text message sent from home if the heating is left on by mistake. With a truly smart energy system, we can better match supply with demand and integrate more renewables such as wind and solar power into the system. These create less air pollution and emit significantly less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Smart meters are the foundation of such a smart energy system.
There is more on how smart meters can help you reduce your carbon footprint here
Customers with the new second generation smart meters (SMETS2) should be able to switch energy suppliers with ease and, as soon as they change provider, their readings should automatically start to be sent to the new supplier. So, if you switch supplier, you won’t need a meter exchange, and you won’t lose your smart meter features.
How can you request a smart meter?