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.
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 meters record the amount of gas and electricity you use on a regular basis.
The data is recorded on an in-home display (IHD) screen.
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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.