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Getting a Smart Meter in Your Home

Smart meters have been introduced to replace the standard gas and electricity meters installed in your home, with plans for every home in the UK to have one by the year 2019. There will be no need for meter readings once these are installed and they will also allow you to monitor how much energy you are using around your home.

Collecting all of the information about just how much energy is being used around your property, they will allow both you and your energy provider to take regular meter readings electronically. Furthermore, due to the UK Government’s new policy, everyone in Scotland, England and Wales should have a smart meter fitted by 2019. That means that in the next seven years, around 26 million homes will have smart electricity and gas meters.

These smart meters will also help towards managing and supplying energy to demand as part of the ‘smart grid’ system. This will allow for maximum usage from low carbon options.

What are the benefits of using a smart meter?

  • Accurate Bills – Every bill will be based upon the exact amount of energy that has been used in your home, there will be no more estimations.
  • No Meter Readings – The amount of energy used in your home will be automatically sent to your energy supplier on a regular basis, so there will be no need for visits to your home or for you to carry out your own meter readings.
  • Tracking Energy Usage – By having a smart meter installed, you will be able to see just how much energy you are using on a daily basis, allowing you to monitor where your energy is going and to hopefully reduce the amount of energy you use.

What other information will the smart meter provide?

The UK Government has also made several requirements as to what the smart meters need to display, which will include:

  • How much energy has been used in kilowatts and kilowatt hours, and pounds and pence.
  • Account balance amount.
  • Your most current consumption of electricity and gas, as well as a history of your consumption.
  • A feedback feature that will display whether you are using a high or low amount of energy.

Will a smart meter save me money?

The UK Government have also predicted that smart meters will allow for customers to save energy by being able to use more of their energy during ‘off-peak’ periods. Using energy during these periods will save you money as electricity is cheaper due to there being less demand for it at that time.

They also predicted that there would be more tariffs made available by energy providers, allowing you to find a cheaper provider. However, they do predict that the introduction of these smart meters will see a rise in the cost of energy by around £6 by 2015, but they also believe that this will reduce by £23 by 2020.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change there will be no separate charges for in-home displays or smart meters. Currently, with your standard meter, you will be paying for the maintenance and cost of this in your energy and bills and it is thought that this will be the same for your future smart meter.

Meanwhile, some energy suppliers could offer additional services in order for you to monitor your energy usage even more, by applications online or on your mobile phone. Those who have pre-payment meters and have to top up their meters may also benefit with easier ways to top up.

How will a smart meter help me save energy?

Energy suppliers will give you lots of information and advice on how to use your smart meter most effectively. By being able to monitor your exact energy usage around the home you should be able to pinpoint where energy is being wasted and bad habits are costing you money. By regularly checking your smart meter you will be able to see when energy usage is at its highest and assess why this is the case and look at reducing it.

In a recent pilot that was carried out in 50,000 homes across England, Wales and Scotland in which smart meters were installed from 2006 to 2011, a reduction of 2 to 4% in energy demand was noted. However, there have been uncertainties as to how accurate this is due to the small amount of evidence that is available on smart meters at this moment in time.

When will I get my smart meter?

All homes in Scotland, England and Wales should have a smart meter by 2019, but energy providers are likely to start distributing and installing these from 2014. You may find that your supplier will allow you to request a smart meter, while others may allocate them in a certain order. British Gas have already started to install these smart meters, so if you do want to have a smart meter installed in your home you should start looking around at different energy companies to see what their plans are for these smart meters.

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