The government plans to have smart electricity meters installed in every home in the United Kingdom by 2020. As is often the case when a relatively new technology is set to become ubiquitous, there are a lot of questions being asked about these new meters. Replacing our trusty old electricity meters which we have been used to for decades, smart meters provide a number of advantages for both energy companies and consumers. The next generation of electricity meters come with built-in digital displays which provide useful information about your energy consumption in real-time. Unlike the traditional energy meter, smart meters will automatically broadcast the details about your energy consumption to your provider. There will also be smart meters installed for gas supplies. What most people want to know, however, is what they will mean for your energy bills.
How Smart Meters Work
Just like the traditional energy meter, which is analogue in nature, the new digital smart meters will record your electricity or gas consumption once they have been installed. It will be the responsibility of the energy companies to pay for the installation of these meters.
Once installed, smart meters will continue to display real-time information about your energy consumption while automatically broadcasting meter readings to your energy supplier. This data will typically be transmitted using the power lines which connect your home to the power grid. A common concern which people have regarding this is privacy and security. However, no personal or financial information will be sent out, and you will still receive your energy bills and pay them as normal. Instead, both consumers and energy companies will always know exactly how much electricity and/or gas they are consuming.
What Are the Benefits for Consumers?
The benefits afforded by smart meters provide a great deal of potential, including helping you to reduce your energy bills by better understanding your electricity and gas consumption rate. All consumers will be able to take advantage of the following benefits of smart meters:
- Your bills will be more accurate, and mistakes are far less likely. Due to the fact that energy consumption information is automatically sent out in real-time, your bills will be more accurate and the chances of errors which may potentially cost you money is much lower. No longer will you need to worry about overpaying or underpaying.
- You will be able to take advantage of a wider range of energy plans in many cases, since smart meters allow energy companies to adjust prices depending on the time of day. This means that you will more easily be able to change to an Economy 7 or Economy 10 plan in order to take advantage of off-peak energy rates.
- You will not need to read the meter yourself or have someone home round to read the meter for you. Although the information provided on the smart meter display can be very useful to the consumer, you do not have to have anything to do with it, since the data is automatically sent to the supplier.
- You will be able to view how much energy you are consuming in real-time. This will allow you to determine when your home consumes the most gas or electricity, helping you to identify the more energy-hungry appliances in your home. Thanks to this, you will be able to enjoy a higher degree of control over how much you end up spending on your energy bills.
Ultimately, having a smart meter installed in your home offers you the potential to save money. You will have a far better insight into your energy consumption. It also seems likely that the new meters will give rise to the launch of various new tariff plans to suit a wider range of consumers with different requirements and lifestyles.
Smart meters are due to start being rolled out in the end of 2015. In spite of this, some of the UK’s largest energy companies have already started installing smart meters, particularly in business premises. If you want to find out more about the roll out of smart meters in your area and what it will mean for your energy bills, you can contact your energy provider. It will be the responsibility of your energy company to install and pay for the new meter.
Laura Ginn knows that there are some house holders that are reluctant to have a smart meter installed, fearing that they are going to be spied on in some way.