With smart meter installations on the rise, Uswitch explains who will fit yours, what the installation process is like and how to make the most of your new meter once installed.
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Why are smart meters being installed?
Upgrading Britain’s metering system is a government initiative aimed to eliminate inaccurate, estimated energy bills, and to improve the public’s understanding of their energy usage.
You can find out more about how smart meters work and their benefits in our Smart meters explained guide.
Suppliers have already begun rolling the meters out to their customers. To find out when your supplier might be fitting yours, read Uswitch’s When will I be offered a smart meter? guide.
Notification and preparation
Because it is your current supplier who will provide your gas and electricity smart meter, notification about your property being offered a smart meter will come from them.
It is up to you to work with your supplier to arrange an installation date.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you set up your installation:
- You must be home at the time of installation, which will take about two hours
- At certain points in this two-hour window, your supply will be cut off; you must be prepared to go without gas or electricity for this short time
- You must ensure access to your meters, including clearing the way to and around them
There is no extra cost to install your smart meter, so you do not need to worry about payment on installation day.
The qualified installer chosen by your supplier will show you proper ID before entering your home. This ID will include their name and photograph, and the name of your energy supplier.
It will take about one hour to install the new gas meter, and one hour to install the new electricity meter.
Afterward, the installer will do a gas safety check to ensure everything is running properly. Then, he or she will walk you through how your new smart meters work, including how to use the in-home display. This handy device will allow you to see your energy usage in near-real time.
After the install - using your smart meter
Once your smart meters are installed, information about your consumption will automatically be sent to your supplier. That means you will no longer need to provide meter readings, and you'll start to receive more accurate energy bills.
You can use the in home display to gain a better understanding of your energy usage and how it impacts your gas and electricity costs.
This understanding can even lead to money savings. Smart Energy GB (the independent organisation charged with raising awareness during the roll out) reports that 55% of those with smart meters said that it helped them save money on their bills. While another 80% said the meter prompted them to take at least one step toward saving energy.
And don't forget — you can still switch energy supplier with a smart meter, though are some things to keep in mind. In some cases, with older smart meter installations, your new supplier may not be able to "speak" to your smart meter. It will simply revert back to standard mode until an updated smart meter can be fitted.