All households are to be offered a smart meter
What are they, will they bring your gas & electricity bill down? I have answered all your questions below…
What are smart meters?
Smart meters are a new kind of gas and electricity meter which is being introduced across Britain as part of a government scheme.
What do smart meters do?
A smart meter will automatically send daily meter readings to your supplier, meaning they can bill you accurately for the energy you’ve used – no more estimated bills and paying more than you have to!
How much will it cost to have my smart meter installed?
You won’t pay upfront to have a smart meter installed – smart meters will be paid for through everyone’s energy bills.
Will a smart meter save me money?
A smart meter has the potential to save you lots of money if you use them correctly.
Because daily meter readings are sent across to your supplier, no estimated bills will be generated. Often estimated bills can be wrong and you end up paying more than you need to – so this could save you money.
On the smart meter itself, you will find a digital ‘in-home’ display to help you keep track of how much energy you’re using. You can then try to reduce your energy usage which will save you money.
When can I get a smart meter?
Your supplier will get in-touch with you when they are ready to roll them out. They will be rolled out across the UK from April 2016 so you should hear from your supplier soon.
Can I have a smart meter now?
You can contact your supplier and ask when they are rolling them out, if you have a little while to wait then they may offer you an alternative smart meter. However, these smart meters may not be compliant with the government scheme.
What if I don’t want a smart meter?
You don’t have to accept a smart meter if you don’t want to – however they have the potential of saving you money so they are a great scheme.
If you refuse a smart meter, you may find it hard to access all your suppliers tariffs. This is because in future the cheaper tariffs offered by suppliers might only be available to customers with smart meters.
One option you could consider is to have a smart meter installed but ask for its ‘smart’ functionality to be switched off – this means it’ll work in the same way as your current meter, and won’t send any information to your supplier such as daily meter readings. You can then easily turn the functionality back on at a later stage.
However, some energy companies haven’t started installing smart meters yet so if you switch to one of these suppliers, you might lose your smart meter’s functionality. For example, you may have to start submitting meter reads yourself until your new supplier come onboard the smart meter scheme.
You should check with the supplier to make sure they currently offer smart meters before you switch.
What if I need more information or help?
Contact your current gas and electricity supplier. If you have any concerns then contact Citizens Advice.