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Smart Meters Explained

Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you’re using and what it’s costing you. It shows this on a small, in-home digital display. The smart meter shows a meter reading and automatically sends the reading to your energy supplier at least once a month, so you will receive accurate, not estimated, bills. Smart meters put you in control of your energy use, allowing you to make energy efficient decisions that can help save you money on your energy bills and price hikes.

How can I get a smart meter?

The government has set a goal to install a smart meter into all properties by 2020. Everyone will be offered the opportunity to upgrade to a smart meter by their energy supplier. The smart meter is completely free and are provided and fitted by your energy supplier at no extra cost.

What are the benefits of a smart meter?

  • Smart meters will bring an end to estimated billing - you will only be billed for the energy you actually use, helping you budget better
  • They helps to reduce power outages and tripping of electrical systems
  • In time smart meters will make switching supplier smoother and faster, making it easier to get the best deals
  • It will help you to become more energy efficient which will lead to lower energy bills
  • It gives detailed information about power consumption in your home

Some of the benefits of having a smart meter whilst being a prepayment customer are:

  • Your energy supplier may be able to offer you new and more flexible ways of topping up your meter that don’t require you to visit a shop
  • You’ll be able to see your balance on your easy-to-access In home display, so you won’t unknowingly run out of credit
  • Your smart meter can be set to top up automatically, so that if you do run out of credit at night or when the shops are shut you won’t be left without power

Are smart meters safe?

Smart meters are covered by UK and EU product safety legislation, which requires manufacturers to ensure that any product placed on the market is safe. The data your smart meter captures about your energy usage is strongly protected by law. You have control over it, including the right to decide:

  • How often your smart meter sends data to your energy supplier (monthly, daily or half-hourly)
  • Whether to share data with other organisations, like price comparison websites.
  • If your supplier can use your meter readings for sales and marketing purposes.

Can I refuse a smart meter?

Yes. You are not obliged to have a smart meter. You should discuss any concerns with your energy supplier.