The truth about Smart Meters - the good and the bad
Energy supply companies have started installing smart meters for electricity and gas in homes across Great Britain - most homes should have one by 2020.
A smart meter sends an electronic meter reading to your energy supplier, meaning:
- they won't need to take a manual meter reading - as the meters send back readings themselves
- you won't get estimated bills - as actual readings are available
- it'll be easier to switch energy suppliers - as the reading at changeover is readily available.
- there should be less arguments - as the readings are reliable and not subject to disagreement.
You'll also get a digital display in your home, helping you to keep track of how much energy you're using and how much it's costing.
You won't have to pay for your smart meter or digital display up front - the cost will be included in everyone's energy bill over the next few years.
A smart meter won't change how you currently pay for your energy bill, e.g. monthly or prepaid. This will still be determined by the product and payment method you choose.
Many people have questions about Smart Meters, this web site tries to answer them honestly for electricity and gas meters, thoroughly and without bias. This site does not deal with Smart water meters as our team do not have expertise in that area.
Questions & Answers
However this could still leave the communications module switched on, albeit with little traffic, and the rules are not clear on whether you could insist on it being turned off. It would require a site visit by the supplier and unfortunately, on most models, the communications module cannot be turned off. We suggest you talk your supplier about any concerns you have.
The SMETS1 meters currently being installed usually require replacing when you change supplier. However as the programme has been so slow in implementation, there is now an initiative to allow SMETS1 meters to be enrolled into the future systems and thus allow smooth switching for customers, but that is some years away.
So currently it is very likely that your smart meters will have to be replaced if you want to use their functionality. If you don't want the smart functionality, most suppliers will leave them on the wall and treat them as a traditional meter.
Prepayment is when you pay in advance for your energy buy charging a key or putting coins in a meter. The new smart meters will allow you to pay through the internet.
However this is not easy to do, so if you have difficulty with the entry of this number then your supplier can provide a special keypad to allow you to enter the authorisation number more easily and, probably, in a more convenient location.