smart meter roll out

Disclosure: this post is in partnership with Smart Energy GB

Regular readers may remember that in October last year I wrote about Big Energy Saving Week and ways in which you can reduce your energy consumption and bills.  As part of that post I talked about smart meters, and how they can help keep an eye on your energy consumption.

Smart meters are going to be offered to us all over the next few years, free of charge, so today I wanted to share some more information on smart meters and some research that has been released about how they are being received by those who have already upgraded to using smart meters.

What are smart meters?

A smart meter is just like your normal gas and electricity meter except that they transmit your actual meter readings direct to your supplier allowing them to prepare an accurate bill.  As part of the upgrade you will be offered a smart meter display free of charge from your energy supplier, who has a legal obligation to offer you one.  

The smart meter will sit in your house and shows you in near real time how much energy you are using and how much it is costing you in pounds and pence.

As well as that the good news is you won’t have to deal with any more estimated bills, and there will be no need for you to submit meter readings (especially handy if your meter is in an awkward place!) and you will have no more unexpected callers asking to read the meter.

free smart meter

Do people like them?

Householders who already have them installed have rated their smart meters massively higher than those still using the old analogue technology.  Smart Energy GB surveyed over 10,000 people across the country and it is clear that overwhelmingly, people feel more in control of the energy they use and are saving money by using the smart meter display to monitor and reduce their consumption.

Here are some of the key facts from the survey:

  • More than half (52%) of people with smart meters say their new meter is helping them save money.
  • Eight in ten (80%) of people with a smart meter have taken at least one step to reduce how much energy they use.
  • Eight in ten (79%) of people with a smart meter would recommend them to others.
  • 85% of those using smart meters say they have a better understanding of what they are spending on energy.
  • 81% of people using smart meters are more confident in the accuracy of their bills compared to those with traditional meters (64%).
  • 75% of people with smart meters say that they understand their energy bills, while just 61% of people using traditional meters said the same.
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of people with a smart meter say that they have the information they need to choose the right energy tariff, far higher than those with traditional meters (57%).

Does having smart meter fitted save me money?

The smart meter itself doesn’t save you money, but by seeing your energy in real time and the actual cost the theory is it should nudge you along to stop wasting energy.  Think how many times you have boiled a kettle only to walk away and then re-boil it a few minutes later when you remember – hopefully the smart meter will make you more aware of how much energy is involved in boiling a kettle (hint – it’s a lot!).

By being a very visible reminder that using energy costs money the technology can help us all be more energy conscious, and that can’t be a bad thing.

Over two million smart meters have already been installed, and you can read about the experiences of real people here.

Where can I get one?

They come at no extra cost, so your supplier will not make any charge for the device when they come to install it.  They are paid for through our standing charge, in the same way that maintenance of analogue meters is paid for now.

Between now and 2020 every home and micro-business in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered the chance to upgrade to a smart meter.  Your energy supplier will get in touch with you when they are installing in your area, but you can preempt this by registering your interest by visiting your suppliers website or giving them a call.