Smart Meter Guide: Should you get one?

Smart Meter Guide

What’s in this guide?

Introduction

Have you recently acquired a smart meter or you are considering requesting one from your supplier?

This new generation of the meter is going to be offered to every household by 2020 as part of a government push, but are they right for you? Will they help you or hurt you in the long run?

Find out everything you need to know about smart meters, including whether or not they might be right for you, the pros and the cons.

What is a smart meter? How do they work?

Like the traditional electricity and gas meters, a smart meter will measure how much energy you are using.

The older generation of meter differs from the smart meters because the smart meter does it automatically and sends that information to your energy supplier, meaning an end to estimated billing.

They do this by utilising mobile networks; a secure national communication network wirelessly sends your usage to your current supplier, which is done automatically.

The In-home display unit (IHD) will show you how much your energy usage is, which can be helpful regarding cutting your costs by understanding your energy usage.

This puts you in control of your energy, allowing you to budget for your bill and ultimately learn how to reduce your use.

Can I switch supplier with a smart meter?

As with most new technology, smart meters do currently have quite a big flaw.

Unfortunately, there are only a few smart meters that work with more than one supplier, and even then they only work with a couple of others, meaning that switching can mean you lose functionality of your device.

However, the second generation of a smart meter is meant to work with every supplier so you won’t use any functions.

These are in development and are meant to be in production by the end of 2018; however, it will likely take longer.

The good news is that the first generation of a smart meter will be upgraded remotely, so even if you do have one of those, there’s no need to worry about missing out.

Do I have to have one?

No, not if you don’t want one.

Although the government is pushing for households to adopt smart meters by 2020, there is no pressure for you to accept a smart meter if you don’t want one.

It may also be worth pointing out that while smart meters are currently free, it does not necessarily guarantee that they will continue to be free after the end of the governments push to roll them out across the UK.

Smart Meter Pros

✔Say goodbye to estimated billing
✔Track your energy usage
✔Lower your costs by understanding your energy consumption
✔Keep an eye on which appliances are costing you the most
✔Get rid of the outdated meter technology that was created decades ago

Smart Meter Cons

✗Your smart meter may not work with other suppliers
✗Some customers have expressed that organising an installation from their supplier has been complicated
✗Smart meters give off radio waves that have been upsetting to some customers; however, they have proven that these waves aren’t harmful
✗According to some reports, smart meters do not work too well with home-generated energy like solar power
✗Your smart meter will need to be replaced every ten years, which is more than average meters

Smart Meter FAQ

Do I have to pay?

No, you won’t have to pay directly, but according to reports it will be taken out of your energy bill in the short term.

It is estimated to cost each home £125.

Is it mandatory to have a smart meter?

No, but you will be offered one by your supplier.

Do smart meters save money?

Yes, by understanding your energy usage, you can start making changes to your energy usage which can save you money.

Do I need Wifi to have a smart meter?

No, smart meters use their wireless network using radio waves, like your mobile phone or the internet.

Will I get a smart meter?

Your supplier is obligated to offer you a smart meter up until 2020, but whether you accept the offer is entirely up to you.

Can I have a smart meter if I am a prepayment meter?

Yes, you can have a smart meter regardless of whether you are a prepayment meter or credit customer.

Will I be pressured into buying something else during installation?

Ofgem, the industry regulator, has imposed strict rules so engineers can’t try and upsell you when they come to install your meter.

Conclusion

Do you have a smart meter? Would you like to find out more?

Take a look at the EnergySeek guides to find out more about your energy, or see reviews of the top 7 energy switching sites to compare gas & electricity.