Smart Energy: Meters & Myth Busting
Care & Repair have been working with Smart Energy GB to raise awareness of the benefits smart meters can bring. Along our journey we have listened to people’s concerns and we have been able to answer frequently asked questions and bust some common myths along the way.
What is a smart meter?
Your energy supplier will swap your current meter for a new generation smart meter. If you want to be technical, your new generation smart meter is called a SMETS2 meter. SMETS 2 meters are compact, they have a digital number display that changes as you use electricity and gas in your home. If you use both electricity and gas your energy supplier will install a meter for each.
You can request that your smart meter comes with a neat piece of kit called an In-Home Display or IHD (see image above). IHDs have a built-in rechargeable battery which is charged through your mains electricity supply. The in-home display can sit on a worktop, a shelf or you can store it out of sight.
How does it work?
Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you’re using, as well as what it’s costing you, and they send that information to your in-home display. At any point, you can take a look at your in-home display and see near-real time live information.
Your smart meter also sends the information to your supplier’s communication hub. This is how, with a smart meter installed, your supplier can send you exact and not estimated bills.
What options are available?
Suppliers have developed a range of in-home displays so all their customers can access live information. For example, there are in-home displays available for people who may find standard IHDs difficult to read or touch – ask your supplier about accessible in-home displays (AIHD) to find out more.
Here are some concerns that people have raised with us, and our responses:
“Smart meters make people turn the heating off, they don’t help people be more energy efficient”. Smart meters are not designed to encourage people to heat their homes less, but they may show you that an appliance has been left on unexpectedly. Switching off that appliance when you are not using it should save you the cost of unnecessary electricity or gas.
“Electricity costs more with smart meters” Your supplier should not change the cost of your electricity and gas to run a smart meter, though your in-home display will use electricity when it is plugged in.
“Smart meters are intrusive – who knows who is listening?” Smart meters and in-home displays have no microphone or camera capability. They transmit energy usage data direct to your energy suppliers and to your in-home display.
“I’m happy with what I’ve got, why change?” There are lots of benefits to having smart meters installed:
- Smart meters enable accurate billing which means you should only be asked to pay for the energy you have used
- You could easily check your bills against your in-home display as soon as you receive them
- You won’t have to stay at home waiting for someone to read your meter
- You won’t have to worry about letting strangers into your house to read your meter
- You won’t have to take meter readings from your meters anymore - your energy usage information should be easily accessible to you and your supplier at any time.
- You could budget more effectively by seeing how much energy you are using and what it is costing you
“Smart meters use up your broadband” Both the in-home display (IHD) and the smart meter operate without the need to be connected to the internet. Rest assured, smart meters operate on a secure system, ensuring data is only visible to the energy supplier and authorised parties where consumer consent is given.
If you would like to find out more, please contact your local Care & Repair Agency or get in touch with Jo at [email protected]
Eligibility may vary.
Consumer action is required.