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How a smart meter can reduce your energy bills

Marc Crosby 27th Oct 2017 5 Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A smart meter can reduce your energy bills, mainly by showing you how much energy you are using, when and even where you are using it in the house!

The UK government plans to install smart meters in all households by 2020. The nationwide roll-out has already started and we’re soon to get the second generation of smart meters that are so smart they can be used with any energy provider.


how to get a smart meter

Home smart meter

Smart meters are totally free to get and all you have to do is ask your current energy provider to give you one and they will organise a time and date to come and install it.

It will involve them coming into your home, wiring it up and showing you how to use it and how to read the little monitor, but once that’s done, you’re all set.


How do smart meters work?

Smart meter graphic

  1. Smart meters record the amount of gas and electricity you use on a regular basis.
  2. The data is recorded on an in-home display (IHD) screen.
  3. You then opt for the meters to send data to your energy company on a regular basis—say, every 30 minutes, every hour, daily, or monthly.
  4. The new meters record the amount of gas and electricity you use, as well as its price in pounds and pence, which is then passed on to your energy provider.
  5. As a result, the bills you receive are accurate, rather than estimates (which can often result in overpayments).


you have More control over the energy you use

Home Smart Meter

  • As a user, you get to see consumption information at a glance, making much more immediately obvious the benefits of turning off devices that guzzle the most electricity.
  • Focusing on being energy efficient pays dividends on the environment and your bank balance.
  • Homeowners using pay-as-you-go meters will also benefit, as they can continue to monitor their energy consumption without the hassle of nipping to the shops to top up your key, or sitting in the dark if your account dries up in the middle of the night.


can i switch suppliers with a smart meter?

Woman looking at an energy price comparison website

  • If you have a smart meter you can switch suppliers, in exactly the same way as anyone else can. Smart meters give people the information they need to make better informed decisions when choosing a supplier and tariff. They show you, in pounds and pence, exactly how much you are spending on gas and electricity
  • Many people with smart meters can be switched seamlessly between suppliers. But in this stage of the national rollout, some may find that if they switch supplier they temporarily need to start sending in meter readings again in order to get an accurate bill
  • This first generation of smart meters (known as SMETS1 meters) will be enrolled into the DCC network over the air without the need for a further visit from an engineer. Government and the industry are currently working on the detailed plans and timetable for how this will happen
  • The DCC is the national communications system for smart meters. This new piece of national infrastructure came online in November 2016. All smart meters will communicate through this secure network and it will help pave the way for 24 hour switching. In the future, smart meters will make it very quick and easy to shop around and change suppliers if you find a better deal
  • Nearly 7 million smart meters have already been installed and people are already seeing the benefits of accurate bills and being able to see, in pounds and pence, exactly what they are spending on gas and electricity


A smart approach to energy consumption

2 sizes of light bulb

  • The smart monitors that you get in your home give readings in near-real time so that you can see at a glance how much you are spending on energy and register how much each appliance costs to use.
  • Smart metering systems challenge homeowners to consume energy sensibly.
  • The new technology sends information of your gas and electricity use directly to your service providers which means the energy suppliers don’t need to send out meter readers.
  • Energy companies have also promised to pass on savings they will earn from this to their customers and further reduce bills. Let’s see if they do!

saving money through the environment

  • Smart metering systems are part of the plan to reduce carbon emissions in the battle against climate change, and as the European Commission is tasked with reducing greenhouse gases by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, smart meters are a major way that the British government can help achieve these goals…whether we are still part of the EU then or not!
  • Smart meters should improve the production, distribution and consumption of gas and electricity by making users more aware of the amount of energy they are consuming. By doing so, the power system will be more efficient and less costly for users, and more environmentally friendly.
  • The Public Accounts Committee has warned, however, that the installation of meters will only be cost-effective for householders if they opt to use less energy.


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4 years ago

I have a smart meter, but the smart monitor is showing incorrect information. I reported it to my provider and they are unable to do anything about it. Its just a con.

4 years ago

To be honest I have not known anyone with a smart meter to be any better off, but they do love watching what it does when they put the kettle on etc, etc! I would also point out that not everyone can have these. My meters are four floors apart, my gas meter being in a cellar and my electric in my flat. I have been refused a smart meter because they are too far apart not that it bothers me – if an item is not in use it is switched off easy!

5 years ago

I’m sure smart meters are a con, the only way you can save money is by using less fuel, which you can do without a smart meter.

Kingsley David Howarth
Kingsley David Howarth
5 years ago

I agree. There is no way these meters can save you money. I had a electric monitor for years. Bar for the novelty factor, it didn’t save me a penny. For instance if you are using a kettle and its using say 3KW, what do you do switch it off before it’s boiled. No,not really. The energy companies are saving hundreds of thousand of pounds on meter readers and I’m sure they will not pass these on to the consumer. Big con as usual.

Kingsley David Howarth
Kingsley David Howarth
5 years ago

I am very sure, smart meters DON’T save you money. All they do is cut out meter readers and I doubt very much if the saving will be passed on to the consumer. It’s just another con as far as I’m concerned.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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