A guide to smart meters
If you don’t already have one installed, you’ve probably heard about smart meters a lot more in recent times. They can even help save you money, without the dangers of meter tampering. If you want to know more about this new tech, check out our guide to answer your questions.
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are a new digital version of the traditional meters which mechanically record how much gas or electricity you use.
They are a popular alternative to traditional meters because they’re much easier to read and there’s no need for inconvenient meter readings several times a year.
Many energy companies are rolling this out as standard for their customers, so if you haven’t had one installed yet, you may be able to contact your energy provider to ask them to install one in your property.
How do smart meters work?
Traditional meters monitor the amount of gas or electricity supplied to your meter.
Instead of recording the usage with a physical dial with numbers, smart meters have a digital display to show real-time usage levels. The meters then send the meter readings automatically to your energy provider using a mobile signal.
How safe are smart meters?
Smart meters are just as safe as traditional meters when properly installed by a licensed professional. Your energy supplier will usually offer installation with one of their engineers free of charge.
Smart meters use small amounts of radio waves, similar to mobile phones, TV and wireless internet, to send information to your energy provider. There is no evidence that these radio waves are harmful to people who own smart meters.
You can read more about the safety implications here.
How accurate are smart meters?
Smart meters have the same level of accuracy, if not more, when compared with traditional gas and electricity meters.
All smart meters in the UK are tested for accuracy in order to make sure they meet both UK and EU regulatory requirements.
How do smart meters save money?
Smart meters can help you to save money because they display your energy usage and the cost of this usage clearly on the screen. You don’t have to wait for an energy reading to find out the cost of the energy you are using – cooking, TV, lights, heating water, charging devices or playing games and music, for example.
This can help increase the awareness of the energy you are using and make you more thoughtful about your consumption, allowing you to make savings on your bills.
For more information on how these can save you money, you can read more on the Money Saving Expert website.
How to read a smart meter?
Smart meters will share the readings with your energy company automatically, so you won’t need to take any readings yourself.
However, if you would like to check the consumption out of your own interest, you will need to press the ‘A’ button on the smart meter, and this will show you the energy readings on the display screen.
Are smart meters compulsory?
Smart meters are not compulsory, and you do not have to have a smart meter installed in your home.
If you have any concerns about a smart meter, you can discuss these with your energy supplier who will be able to answer any queries you may have.
How to get a smart meter?
If your energy supplier has not already approached you about getting a smart meter, you will need to check your eligibility directly by getting in touch with them either online or over the phone.
If you are eligible, your supplier will arrange a date and time for a licensed professional to install the smart meter into your home.
Overall, smart meters can be a great piece of kit, and it’s worth exploring the option if you think it could be right for you. It’s important to remember that even smart meters can be tampered with – if you have any suspicions of meter tampering in your home or by someone you know, you can get in touch with stayenergysafe to report your concerns.
If you spot energy theft anywhere, speak up anonymously now.