Understanding smart meters

Smart meters have gained popularity in recent years as a means to monitor and manage energy consumption in households. They provide real-time data, helping homeowners make informed decisions about energy usage and potentially reduce their bills. This guide aims to offer impartial advice to households considering the installation of smart meters, presenting both the benefits and considerations associated with these devices.


What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is the next generation of gas and electricity meters in the UK. They’ll help us adapt our energy grid and manage demand better in the future. They also have a range of benefits for consumers.

Smart meters function in the same way traditional meters do, by recording your energy consumption but with the major difference of sending meter readings periodically to your energy supplier.


The in-home display

When you smart meter is installed you should also receive an in home display. This is a device that communicates with your smart meter to give you visual information on your energy consumption.

The display will be provided free of charge at the same time a smart meter is installed. The installer should also demonstrate how the device works.

The display can be used to view your previous energy consumption or monitor it at the current time.

If you have a prepayment meter the in home display with show information about your current credit balance and access to emergency credit.

Apps and online portals

Many suppliers now offer access to smart phone apps for their customers, or increased access to their smart meter data through their online account. This can provide a great deal of functionality to customers but what is on offer can vary based upon the supplier you are with.

Some suppliers for example will give you access to emergency credit or fianancial support if you are struggling.


Benefits of smart meters

The main benefit of a smart meter, if you currently have to submit meter readings, is that your bills will always be accurate without you having to physically submit readings. This means no more crawling into cupboards to read a display and then phone your energy supplier each month.

Smart meters will also help you to become more energy efficient – you will be able to work out how much energy each appliance is consuming and adjust your usage accordingly.

Having a smart meter installed should give you greater access to different tariffs and payment methods. Smart meters can function in both credit and prepayment mode, meaning if you need to switch it can be done with a lot less hassle.

Many suppliers offer innovative tariffs for smart meter customers, that simply aren’t possible with traditional meters. This can include tariffs with dynamic prices, that change throughout the day, or tariffs for those with electric heating or electric vehicles to charge.


Considerations before upgrade

Many people are concerned about their data and privacy. If you have these concerns you should speak to your supplier about how your data is used.

Smart meters occasionally present a challenge when it comes to compatibility when switching energy suppliers. Older models may not function with suppliers who did not install them and will revert to ‘dumb mode’ upon a switch.


Support from Cosy Kingdom

Do you need more advice on smart meters? Our energy advisors are always happy to help.

Our energy advisors can be contacted by:

Calling 01592 807930

Texting COSY then YOUR NAME to 88440

Emailing info@cosykingdom.org.uk

Through our website

Or on our Facebook and Twitter social media pages.