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How Do Smart Meters Work?

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Investing in eco-friendly measures can boost property value, attract more potential buyers and reduce your energy bills. There are big changes you can make, and some simple ones. So, how do smart meters work? Are they worth it? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a smart meter? 

Every home in Britain should be offered a smart meter by June 2025, as part of a nationwide rollout.

Smart meters replace your existing gas and electricity meters, measuring your energy use. However, unlike them, they automatically send this information to your energy supplier. 

What do smart meters do?

Smart meters show you how much energy you’re using, in real time, and how much it’s costing – coming with an in-home display. You may also have an account online where you can see this information. 

This can help you control your energy use, cutting it down; saving money on your energy bills in turn. 

How do smart meters work? 

Smart meters use wireless networks, sending data to your supplier on how much gas/electricity you’re using. Your gas smart meter, electricity smart meter and in-home display communicate with each other. 

Essentially:

  1. Your smart meter records energy usage
  2. You can view this energy usage on an in-home display
  3. These readings are automatically sent to your provider
  4. Your provider can use this to improve their systems
  5. You get an accurate bill
  6. You can view your energy usage in your online account

Gas smart meters

These are battery powered, ‘waking up’ every half hour to take a reading and then communicate this (via your electricity meter).

Electricity smart meters

This is connected to a communication hub, allowing it to communicate with your in-home display. It will also send the readings to your supplier

Should you get a smart meter?

While you don’t necessarily ‘have’ to have one, energy companies may be less likely to install old-style meters. So, we’ll all likely have one by 2025 anyway, but let’s take a look at the pros & cons of smart meters.

Advantages

  • It’s a great way to save energy at home
    • You’ll have a better understanding of how much energy you’re using, and when, which can help you cut back
  • Your energy bill will be accurate, not estimated
  • Helps contribute to a low-carbon, greener Britain
    • Smart meters are part of delivering efficient, reliable energy to households 
  • One of the simpler energy saving home improvements you can make
  • Some suppliers offer cheaper energy tariffs to those who use smart meters
  • It won’t cost you anything to have a smart meter installed
    • The overall cost of the roll out is already covered in your energy bill

Disadvantages 

  • If you switch suppliers from the one who installed it, your smart meter might stop working
  • First-generation SMETS1 smart meters are more likely to stop working than the newer SMETS2 meters
    • Energy companies are now only installing SMETS2 meters, but if you live in a property with an older model, it may stop working
  • Older properties, or those in very rural areas, may have to wait longer for a smart meter
  • You won’t be able to install it yourself, it will need a professional (you could lose power for a few hours during the installation)

What if you rent?

You can have a smart meter if you rent; you have a legal right to choose your energy provider if it’s your responsibility to pay the bills. If your landlord pays the bills, it’s up to them whether to get one. 

Do smart meters save money?

Smart meters can, in theory, help you reduce your energy bills by making you aware of how much energy you’re using. But, they alone won’t save you money, you’ll need to change your habits too. 

Some tips to cut down your spend include:

  • Not leaving electronics on standby (they still use energy!)
  • Switching off lights when you leave a room
  • Using energy-saving light bulbs
  • Carrying out draught proofing measures
  • Washing clothes at a lower temperature
  • Getting a new boiler
  • Insulate your home

Want to reduce your carbon footprint?

Want to do your bit for the planet? Switch energy supplier – and choose one backed by renewable energy. We can help you find a greener tariff, which might just be cheaper too! Get a quote below.

Switch Energy Supplier

Last Updated: November 10th, 2021