The benefits of smart energy meters
Did you know between now and 2020 your energy supplier must offer you a smart meter at no extra cost? Having a smart meter can mean more than taking control of your energy usage and receiving accurate energy bills.
Standard credit meters and prepayment meters will look the same as each other; all smart meters can be switched between prepayment or credit and back again without the need to change meter itself.
Prepayment credit can be bought at the usual shops etc., plus over the telephone, online or with a smart phone app. The credit is added instantly upon purchase, so no need to go to outdoor meter boxes or go crawling under the stairs to put a card or key into the meter.
A single “in home display” shows your how much gas and electricity you have used since your last bill and how much you are using right now; the cost is shown in pounds and pence. If you have a prepayment meter the amount of credit/emergency credit is shown and an alert will show when credit is low.
The display shows many other things including; if your energy use is high, low or average, and which tariffs you are currently on. Switching tariffs can be done easily by your supplier. Switching suppliers will become much easier too.
Estimated bills will be a thing of the past; accurate energy bills will be received every time in a similar way to accurate telephone bills.
No one will need to visit your home to read the meter, all smart meter readings are sent wirelessly to a new independent company called the Data Collection Company. They will then send your readings to your chosen supplier. If you choose to change suppliers then your readings will simply be diverted to your new supplier with no need to access the meter.
A smart meter puts you in charge of your energy consumption, the display will show which appliances use the most energy, and the savings made when you turn off lights or switch to low energy products etc.
If you identify situations using lots of energy you could make changes to reduce your energy consumption. Some suppliers are already offering cheaper electricity at certain times of the week or certain times of day, these times could be when you choose to use your energy guzzling appliances to reduce your bills; the costs can be seen instantly on the in home display.
The national rollout of smart meters will cover Wales, England and Scotland. Different energy suppliers will be targeting different areas at different times. Contact your supplier if you are the bill payer and want to know when you are going to be offered a smart meter.
More information on the rollout of smart meters can be found at the Smart Energy GB website: www.smartenergygb.org
For advice on how to save between £400.00 and £500.00 a year right now with some simple actions, go to The Energy Saving Trust website: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/energy-saving-quick-wins