Energy Q&A: What's a smart meter?

Heard a lot about smart meters but not sure how they work or why they're so important? Quickly find out what all the fuss is about ...

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If you feel that lately the topic of smart meters has become more and more popular in the news and among politicians, you'd be right.

As the UK nears its 2020 deadline to install a smart meter into every home, factors such as the cost and best use of the meters are being debated in the media.

But let’s start at the beginning …

A smart meter is a "next generation" energy meter tapped to replace your existing gas and electricity meters. They are referred to as “smart” because they can send meter readings electronically to your energy supplier without the household having to do anything.

Smart Meter

The smart meters you can expect in your property will also come with an in-home display. This display will be able to give you real-time feedback on your energy usage and what it is costing you.

Quick facts/answers related to smart meters:

  • You will NOT have to pay for your new smart meter. At least not directly — the cost of the smart meter project will be shared by all energy customers as a cost on their bills. Your current supplier will manage the installation of the meter.
  • The government requires all homes to have a smart meter by 2020, but when YOU will get one is to be determined by your supplier.
  • You can still switch energy supplier if you have a smart meter. At present, a switch from the supplier which installed your smart meter to another, might mean your smart meter reverts to "dumb" mode. However, in the future switching may be faster and easier since suppliers can automatically access your meter readings to manage the switchover of supply.

Related info:

Smart meters: coming to a home near you

Fewer than half of consumers want a smart meter

Supplier call for a review of smart meter roll out

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