Smart meters

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter measures how much energy you are using in near real time and shares that information with you via a screen called an ‘in-home display’. In a similar way to a mobile phone sending a text message, your smart meter will also automatically send your energy supplier meter readings, meaning you don’t need to submit them yourself and you’ll receive far more accurate bills.

 

Will my smart meter still operate in smart mode if I switch to you?

If you switch to us and have a first or second generation smart meter, its smart features will be lost. It will still measure your energy use but as a traditional meter so you will have to submit meter readings manually. Your in-home display should still display your energy consumption. We are working on a way to reactivate smart meters and once this has happened, we will inform you. 

 

What are the benefits of smart meters?

You can use the in-home display provided with your smart meter to see how much energy you’re using and how much it’s costing. You can alter the display to show hourly, weekly or monthly usage and spend. This helps you adapt your lifestyle to minimise your bills. The smart meter also sends readings to your energy supplier so your bills are always accurate and you avoid having to manually read your meter.

Thinking more broadly, smart meters have a vital role in minimising the country’s carbon emissions. The information they provide will enable energy companies to make the most of fossil free energy sources and create a more efficient and greener energy system.

 

How is a smart meter installed?

Once we begin actively installing smart meters our engineers will be in touch to arrange a time to visit your home. You will need to be in when they visit and provide access to where your existing meter is located. Your energy supply will be cut off for a short period and the engineer will remove your traditional meter and replace it with a new smart meter. After running some tests to make sure everything is working as it should, the engineer will show you how to use your new in-home display. The whole process takes up to two hours.

 

Will I have separate smart meters for electricity and gas?

Yes, your electricity and gas meters will both be replaced. However, your in-home display will display both your electricity and gas use and costs.

 

How much does it cost to have a smart meter installed?

There’s no extra charge for having a smart meter installed. Just like the cost of running and maintaining a traditional meter, the cost of smart meters forms part of everyone's energy bill.

 

Do I need to change my energy plan for a smart one when I get a smart meter?

No, all our plans are applicable to traditional and smart meters.

 

Where should I place my in-home display?

Because your in-home display connects to your smart meter using a low power wireless signal, the closer the two are located the better the connection between them will be.

 

What information is sent from my smart meter?

Your smart meter automatically sends monthly meter readings to us via a secure national network dedicated for smart meters. The information will show how much gas and electricity you’ve used but doesn’t store other personal information that could identify you, such as your name, address or bank account. We may in the future increase the frequency with which we are sent readings, for example if you take out a ‘time of use’ energy plan to take advantage of low cost overnight electric vehicle charging.

 

Are smart meters secure?

The data your smart meter captures and transmits has strong legal protection. Our smart meters and data storage processes meet the standards set out by Ofgem and the government. Your smart meter doesn’t store or transmit any personal information. Data is transmitted over a secure, closed communication system. You have the right to decide how often your smart meter sends data to your energy supplier and with whom it can be shared.

 

Are smart meters safe?

Smart meters have passed UK and EU regulations ensuring they are safe for domestic households. Smart meters connect to the in-home display using a secure, low power wireless system similar to Bluetooth. They send meter readings to suppliers using another secure wireless system similar to a mobile phone signal. The law relating to smart meter use is similar to those applied to other household electronics, such as TVs, mobile phones and WIFI routers.

 

Are smart meters accurate?

Yes, smart meters are certified for their accuracy by the government’s Office for Product Safety & Standards.

 

What is the difference between first and second-generation smart meters?

First generation smart meters offered great new features compared to traditional meters but these often stopped working when customers switched suppliers. Second generation smart meters have overcome this technical issue and always deliver smart functionality, regardless of energy supplier. They will start being rolled out across the country during 2019.

 

My in-home display has been inactive for an extended period, will it still work?

Yes, it will, though it may need updating so could take up to 24 hours to activate. Remember, even if your in-home display is turned off, if your smart meter is activated it will continue to send readings automatically.

 

My in-home display is faulty or missing, what should I do?

Please contact us by calling our Customer Service Team on 0330 202 0298 (local rate).

 

If I move home, do I need to take my in-home display with me?

No, your in-home display is paired with the smart meter in the property. If you are moving home, please leave it so the new householder can use it.

 

Can I switch my plan or energy supplier if I have a smart meter?

Customers with a smart meter can switch plans or energy supplier in the same way as those with traditional meters. If you have a first-generation smart meter that we have reactivated and you are considering switching to a new supplier, it’s worth checking whether they can support the smart meter installed at your home. If they can’t, while your smart meter will still work as a traditional meter, its smart features will be lost.

 

If I have a smart meter, will I still receive energy bills?

You will receive energy bills in the same way you do now and they will be more accurate, as they will be based on accurate and up to date meter readings.

 

I have a smart meter, but you’ve asked me for a meter reading, why?

Smart meters can experience connectivity issues, which could mean we will not receive a reading and need you to submit it for us. If we identify any issues, we will attempt to get in touch with you so we can address it.

 

I have a smart meter, but I’ve received an estimated bill, why?

You may receive an estimated bill if we’re unable to obtain a meter reading from your smart meter. When your smart meter is installed, it might take a while for it to become fully active, and therefore, we may not be able to obtain meter readings straight away.

 

Can I get a smart meter if I currently have an Economy 7 or Economy 10 meter?

Second generation smart meters can support Economy 7 and Economy 10.

 

I rent my property, am I able to get a smart meter?

If bills are addressed to you, rather than your landlord, you do not require your landlord’s permission to get a smart meter. However, we do recommend you make your landlord aware you’re getting one. If your landlord manages the energy account, you should ask them to arrange for a smart meter to be installed for you.

 

If I have solar panels, can I have a smart meter installed?

Yes, you can. Your in-home display will only show the amount of energy that you’re buying from your supplier, not the amount that you have generated. Your energy bills will reflect the energy you’re using and that you’ve generated.

 

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about smart meters, then please call us on 0330 2020 298 (local rate).

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