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What’s So Smart About Smart Meters?

The energy bill drops onto the doormat and that heated argument kicks off again about how much it costs to leave that light on all night, who forgot to turn the TV off, the central heating being on too long, the hair straighteners draining the national grid.

Every time we leave an appliance turned on or plugged in, we’re wasting money. Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you’re using, as well as what it’s costing you, and display this on a screen in your home, bringing an end to estimated bills and family bust-ups.

On the display you can read:

  • How much energy you’re using in real time
  • How much energy was used in the last hour, week and month – and what it cost
  • Whether your usage is high, medium or low
  • Updates in near real time for electricity and every half-hour for gas

If you have a pre-paid meter, it will also show:

  • How much credit you have left
  • How much emergency credit you have
  • Your debt balance (if you have one)
  • If your credit’s getting low

In 2009, the government announced its plan to have a smart meter installed in every UK home by 2020 through a supplier-led rollout. Since then, the plan was updated to every household in Britain being offered a smart meter by 2020 [1].

As a result of the rollout, a total of 1,105,400 domestic smart meters were installed by large energy suppliers in the fourth quarter of 2018 (485,700 gas and 619,700 electricity meters) [2].

No more estimated bills. No more having to read the meter with the torch on your phone. No more trying to work out your bill and having heart attacks because you put the decimal in the wrong place. No more strangers knocking on your door asking if they can take your vital statistics.

And these aren’t the only benefits. Smart meters can also help to cut down your bills, but only if you use and act on the information provided on the in-home display to cut consumption. They’re smart, but not smart enough to tell you your hair looks fine and that you really don’t need to use the hairdryer again.

In fact, since the rollout, uSwitch research has found that 82% of customers who now have smart meters have said it’s helped them to cut their energy use and save money as a result [2].

To find out more about installing a smart meter in your home, contact your energy supplier for more information.