What is a Smart Meter?
Smart Meters have become an increasingly popular topic of conversation, but what actually are they and do you need one for your home? Politicians and News sources have discussed and described Smart Meters using specific and confusing jargon that most of us don’t understand. But don’t worry, we are here to help you understand what Smart Meters are, what they do and whether you actually need one.
What are Smart Meters and how do they work?
Believe it or not, Smart Meters are not as complicated as they seem. A Smart Meter is similar to an Energy Meter in that it records your household’s consumption of energy (gas and electric). However, Smart Meters with their modern and next generation design are arguably superior to their predecessor due to the fact that they can send meter readings electronically to your energy provider. And they do this without you having to lift a finger. But how do they do this? Smart Meters are installed as a replacement for your old Energy Meter and use a wireless network to send your gas and electric consumption data straight to your provider. (You will not need an internet connection; they use a separate network similar to that of your mobile). They basically save you the trouble of having to read your gas and electric meters and prevent your bills from being estimated.
Smart Meters also come with a digital display which will allow you to monitor how much energy you are using and how much it is costing you. Some Smart Meter companies even offer phone apps that include extra features to help you manage your energy consumption and how you can save.
Do I need a Smart Meter?
In short, no, you do not need a Smart Meter in your home or business, but they do offer a lot of benefits that make them worth installing. In 2019 the government introduced a rule that all UK energy providers must offer their customers (domestic households and businesses) a Smart Meter, however households and businesses can reject the offer of having them installed.
Although Smart Meters are not a legal requirement, you may decide you would like to have one installed after reading the benefits:
· They take accurate energy readings, meaning your energy bills will also be more accurate.
· You won’t need to take any more energy readings as the Smart Meter will send your data automatically to your provider.
· The Smart Meter’s digital display allows you to monitor your energy consumption and see how much you’re spending in real-time.
· The accurate energy consumption data allows you to control your energy use e.g. you will be able to see if you’re using too much energy every month and provide insight into how you can lower your consumption.
How much do Smart Meters cost?
Upfront a Smart Meter does not cost anything, however that does not mean they are free. It is a common misconception that Smart Meters are completely free to install due to a lack of upfront cost, but you will end up paying for them indirectly through your energy bills.
How to get a Smart Meter installed
1. First you will need to contact your energy provider about what they are able to offer in terms of Smart Meters and availability for installation.
2. Once you have come to an agreement with your energy provider you should be able to discuss a date and time for them to install the Smart Meter.
3. When your Smart Meter has been installed make sure your energy provider has provided you with information about how your Smart Meter works and how to manage your energy consumption.