Smart meters are revolutionary with regard to how we pay for our energy use. The government intends to have a smart meter in each UK home UK by 2020, and has commanded that energy suppliers pay for them.
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are electronic gas and electricity meters which can send and receive information to and from your energy supplier.
Thus energy suppliers can check and record your energy use remotely, thereby eliminating the need for estimated bills or meter readings.
The minimum requirements for smart meters have not been specified, however, the government has stated that they need to have standalone visual display units.
Such wireless energy monitors are going to show real time energy usage and are designed to assist consumers in monitoring and lowering energy use.
Are smart meters beneficial?
Smart meters are not going to be lower energy bills per se; they can ensure your bills are more accurate.
The wireless energy monitors can enable you to lower their energy use by showing you real time energy use so you can reduce your energy usage and bills accordingly.
Smart meters could also provide “happy hour tariffs”, when cheaper energy at variable off-peak times on offer.
Have smart meters got any disadvantages?
Energy suppliers are going to make huge savings with smart meters because technicians for meter reading will not be needed.
It has been intimated that energy suppliers ought to pass these savings on to the consumer.
Given that suppliers are going to be have to pay for smart meters, any savings may not reach customers.
How do I go about obtaining a smart meter?
The British government has arrived at the decision that energy suppliers are going to have to pay for the roll-out of smart meters, however, the project is in its planning stages. The rollout itself could take an entire decade.
So, if you want a smart meter beforehand then what steps do you need to take?
- Only in the Midlands or East Midlands can you get a smart meter by swapping to First:utility. This energy supplier is offering a free smart meter to customers who opt for its Smart tariff. First:utility is the sole supplier presently installing real smart meters.
- Should you anywhere else, unfortunately you are not able to get a smart meter presently. However, should you wish to monitor your electricity use, you are able to obtain a standalone electricity monitor. Electricity monitors are easily installable and shows you the amount of electricity you have used in real-time, normally in kWh and pounds, which can enable you to lower use.
- Several energy suppliers are offering free electricity monitors for those who sign up to specific tariffs, e.g., the British Gas EnergySmart tariff. You can, if you wish, purchase an energy monitor; they are available for between £30 and 50 from key retailers.