Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electric meters and will mean an end to estimated bills. They send automatic meter readings directly and securely to your energy supplier, resulting in accurate bills, an end to estimates and manual meter readings. The accompanying in-home display is a portable device which shows you exactly how much energy you’re using and what it’s costing you in pounds and pence, in near real time. If you’ve seen the recent smart meter adverts set in a supermarket where till staff estimate shopping bill totals much to their customers’ amazement, you might be wondering how you find out more. Here is a quick guide to smart meters with some frequently asked questions.
Where are smart meters being installed?
The smart meter rollout is happening right across the country between now and 2020. They are being installed in homes at no extra cost, to replace the traditional meters, including prepay meters, most of us currently have ticking away under the stairs, or outside our homes. Energy suppliers will install over 53 million smart meters in over 30 million homes. Suppliers are rolling out smart meters to their customers at different times. When you can get one depends on many different factors, including the age of your existing meter and the type of home you live in.
Can I get a smart meter if I’m renting my home?
Yes. If you pay your gas and/or electricity bills. You don’t need your landlord’s permission to get a smart meter although you should inform them.
I’m on prepay. Can I get a smart meter?
Yes. Smart meters will make prepay as easy as pay-as-you-go on your mobile. Some suppliers are already rolling out smart prepay meters and in the future, all smart meters will be able to switch between credit and prepayment modes. With smart prepay, you should be able to:
- conveniently see how much credit is left on your smart meter in-home display, without having to manually read or access the meter
- top up when and where you want to – online, with an app, on the telephone, or via text message
- top up in person at your local store/outlet, without any need to put a key or card back into a meter. Payments will automatically be added to your account. You will always be able to top up with cash
- pay the same rates as everyone else – smart meters will remove the need for prepay to be more expensive than other tariffs
How can I get a smart meter?
Every home in Great Britain is entitled to a smart meter at no extra cost and everyone will be offered a smart meter by 2020. But you can ask for one to be fitted earlier than this. There are three straightforward steps to getting one installed:
- Call your supplier –You should contact your supplier directly to see if you can get a smart meter fitted now.
- Fix a time and day – you should then agree when your supplier will come and install their smart meter, bearing in mind the installation usually takes around two hours.
- Be home for installation – either you, or if they can’t be there, a nominated, responsible adult will need to be present during installation. The installer will fit the meter and show you how to use the in-home display.
For more information about the rollout and smart meters visit www.smartenergygb.org