Smart meters

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are a new type of meter for gas and electricity which will be offered to all British households over the next few years. Smart meters send meter readings directly to your energy supplier and will enable a range of new services like displays that show you exactly how much energy you’re using and the cost of that energy. Smart meters should mean that manual meter readings, estimated and back bills will become a thing of the past. Smart meters will also allow you access to more detailed information about your personal energy usage which can help with deciding about switching and energy efficiency.

 When will I get a smart meter?

Do I have to have a smart meter?

While energy suppliers are obliged to offer smart meters to everyone by 2020 you don’t have to accept one if you don’t want one. In the future, smart meters will be the only option available to replace old meters. However, you’ll still be able to request that your supplier not make use of the smart meter functionality, meaning that it will act like a standard meter.

What is an In Home Display (smart meter display)?

 Do I have to pay for a smart meter?

The costs of the smart meters are going to be paid through everyone’s energy bills, just as current meters are, so there should be no charges when it’s installed. This also means that the cost of smart meters will be shared amongst everyone whether or not you agree to have a smart meter.

What happens when I switch supplier?

Getting a smart meter in the early part of the rollout won’t stop you from being able to switch supplier, but you may lose some ‘smart services’ (for example remote meter reads) for a period of time. Newer models of smart meters will resolve this problem so you should check with your supplier to confirm what impact switching may have on your particular meter. Eventually all compliant smart meters will be able to switch without any loss of functionality but ones installed earlier may take longer.

What about key and card meters?

Smart meters will be able to work in both ‘credit’ and ‘prepayment’ modes. Because of this, prepayment tariffs should become cheaper in the future. Smart meters will also allow for new ways to top-up your meter by phone, online or through an app in addition to the current methods.

For more information, have a look at Getting a smart meter installed on the Citizens Advice website or ask for an appointment at Citizens Advice Reading by completing our Contact form or calling 0118 952 3022 or email energy@readingcab.org.uk and ask for an ‘Energy Best Deal Extra’ appointment.