Many experts consider smart metres to be the best energy metres available on the market. However, it is not understood by all prospective users what exactly are they, and what can they do for your energy bills. Ultimately, tenants and homeowners will want to save money wherever possible and energy and heating bills are one of the best places to start.
Hence, understanding how smart metres work and their energy efficiency benefits could save many people quite a lot of money over the course of their ownership or residence of a property. Whilst new builds and new conversions will usually undergo ventilation and or air tightness testing, they will not necessarily be fitted with a smart metre meaning the residents could be missing out on hundreds of Pounds worth of savings.
What is a Smart Metre?
In many ways, it is very similar to a typical energy metre. Smart metres however, do the exact same things but there is one crucial difference that makes it different to your average energy metre; it sends automatic readings of your gas and electricity straight to your supplier, as well as displaying on the metre precisely how much you are spending on your energy consumption. This means that energy companies can far more accurately determine what your energy bill should be based on the data that is provided through the smart metre in a property.
Currently in the UK, it is estimated that there are around seven million smart metres installed in properties, according to statistics provided by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
However, the government has plans for a far bigger expansion across the country, as it wants to make updating the old infrastructure one of its top priorities when it comes to increasing energy efficiency across the country. By the end of 2020, it is hoped that 26 million homes will be installed with smart metres, as part of its huge £11 billion scheme it has rolled out.
How do Smart Metres Work?
The metres take readings of your gas and electricity and also track patterns in your consumption wirelessly. This is usually through an in-home display which shows your consumption patterns, or through an app which can be viewed and managed via one’s mobile.
On the in-home display or app, the following information will usually be displayed:
- The amount that has been spent, which is clearly indicated in Pounds, is updated on a very regular basis; generally, every hour of every day
- The consumption of gas and electricity in your property, which will be displayed in kilowatt hours and is broken down by the hour, week, and month
- Depending on what type of smart metre you have, you may be p resented with your ‘energy goals.’ These are goals that being achieved, will help to reduce your energy consumption overall therefore lowering your energy bills. It will create a set goal for you based upon the data it has retrieved about your home
How Are Smart Metres Installed?
The installation process when it comes to smart metres is simple. An appointment for an installation by an engineer is made (usually through your energy supplier) who temporarily suspends the energy supply in the property. Having carried out this process, the old metres are removed and replaced by your new smart metre and the energy supply is turned back on.
Most of the time the smart metre will be installed in the same place as the old electricity and gas metres. If this changes an engineer can only go ahead with your permission before doing so. Many smart metres will also be set up with an in-home house display.
It is important to note that depending on the company you decide to go with for a smart metre, the metre itself may vary when it comes to its functionality. All energy suppliers use different smart metres. This is something you should also take into consideration if you are considering changing energy providers in the not too distant future, this is because you may end up losing some functionality.
How much does a Smart Metre cost?
There isn’t an upfront cost when it comes to smart metres as it is included in your energy bills whilst the government rolls out the scheme across various parts of the UK over the next few years. Estimates suggests that energy suppliers will be including an additional £6 to cover the bill of the scheme for each property, which is a considerably small amount. In addition, it is important to remember that prepayment energy customers are also eligible under the smart metre scheme.
How Do I Get a Smart Metre?
Government schemes promoting the use of these metres intend for the majority of homes in the UK to have a smart metre installed in their home by 2020. However, it might be possible to get one earlier. If you are interested in doing this you can find out if this is possible by contacting your energy supplier who may be able to arrange an installation.
Saving You Money: Tracking your Bills
Research on the usage of smart metres shows that these metres could help you save money as those who monitored their energy consumption on the in-house display, tended to save money on their energy bills compared to those who didn’t.
No More Estimated Bills
As smart metres take accurate readings from your gas and electricity which is then sent directly to your energy suppliers, it means that your bills will no longer be based upon estimations, which means that you could save money as you will no longer face being overcharged. It is also worth noting that the only people who have access to your energy data is your energy company and you.