How to know if you already have a smart meter
You may already have a gadget at home that helps control your energy use. But how can you tell if you have a smart meter?
What do smart meters look like?
Smart meters are made up of two separate but related elements.
The smart meters themselves:
Smart meters replace analogue gas and electricity meters, including prepay key and card meters. You may find them in a cupboard, under the stairs or maybe outside the house in a small storage cabinet attached to the wall of your house. They look similar to analogue meters but you’ll usually see a digital display and a small communications hub attached to one of the meters.
Smart meters typically look like this:
The in-home display:
This is a small, portable monitor that communicates with your smart meter and shows your energy usage in near-real time. Many people call these displays the smart meter, and that’s understandable, but their correct name is in-home display (IHD), smart meter display or smart meter monitor. You can find out more these displays on our IHD page.
In-home displays typically look like this:
Smart meters are connected to the mains electricity supply and/or gas pipe going into your home. Smart meters send your meter readings safely and securely to your energy supplier – so you don’t have to do manual readings anymore. Your smart meters also send information on your energy usage to your in-home display, so you can keep track of how much energy you’re using, and what it’s costing you.
Any other ways of finding out if I have a smart meter?
If your energy supplier has told you that you don’t need to send them meter readings anymore because they are receiving automated readings, then you have a smart meter.
If you’re a prepay customer with a smart meter, you should be able to top up your credit online. If you can’t do this, then you may not have a smart meter. If you’re a prepay customer who doesn’t top up online, you should speak to your energy supplier to confirm the kind of meter you have.
If you’re still not sure, you can check if you have a smart meter in your home and whether it is a first generation meter called a SMETS1 or second generation called SMETS2, using the links below:
Customers in England and Wales
Customers in Scotland
I've got smart meters, but no in-home display, what do I do?
You'll need to get in touch with your energy supplier as they are best placed to let you know more about the options available to you for getting a replacement in-home display. This shouldn’t involve replacing the meters, the new in-home display that would be paired with the existing smart meter.
What is the difference between SMETS1 and SMETS2?
'SMETS' is the acronym for 'Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications'.
The main difference between a SMETS1 meter and a SMETS2 meter is how they communicate your meter readings to your energy supplier. SMETS1 meters use a mobile network to send your energy usage data to your energy supplier. Whereas SMETS2 meters use a bespoke secure smart data network called the DCC to communicate, meaning you don’t need to have good mobile signal to have a SMETS2 meter.
Another difference is switching suppliers with SMETS1 or SMETS2 meters. SMETS1 meters can temporarily lose some of their functionality following a switch. But if you have a SMETS2 meter, you should be able to switch energy suppliers without any interruption to your energy readings or bill payments.
SMETS1 meters will be remotely connected to the bespoke secure smart data network – fixing the issue without needing a visit from an installer and without any action from you. Once your smart meter is migrated it will then be able to deliver all the benefits of a smart meter, with any supplier.
Is your smart meter working in smart mode?
If you think you have a smart meter but you’re not experiencing any of the benefits, your smart meter may not be working as it should.
You can find out if your smart meter is working in smart mode using the Citizens Advice smart meter checker tool below:
Why isn't my smart meter working in smart mode?
Your smart meter may not be working in smart if you have an older first generation smart meter (SMETS1 meter), and you have switched supplier following the installation.
SMETS1 meters can temporarily lose some of their functionality following a switch. This just means you will have to read the meters yourself for a while.
What other devices can be mistaken for smart meters?
There are two main devices which are sometimes confused with a smart meter - smart thermostats and energy monitors.
Smart thermostats, such as Hive and Nest, connect to your Wi-Fi so you can control your heating and hot water through your smart phone, tablet and/or desktop. They allow you to turn your heating off when you’re out, and back on again when you’re on your way home.
If you want a smart thermostat, you may have to pay for the device, and the installation.
However, these only allow you to track your heating - so you can't keep an eye on your electricity and gas usage.
A smart meter can work alongside your smart thermostat, to ensure you’re in control of your energy usage.
Energy monitors, including brands such as Smappee and Owl, allow you to see your electricity use in near real-time. This can help you keep track of your energy usage, and monitor when you’re spending more or less on electricity and gas.
Again, you may have to pay for this device, and the installation.
A smart meter and accompanying in-home display will allow you to do more than an energy monitor would, and can be installed by your energy supplier at no extra cost. Smart meters can also automatically send your data to your supplier so you’ll no longer have to manually take meter readings.
Haven't got a smart meter but want one?
A smart meter enables you to monitor what energy you are using – and potentially wasting – in near real time on your in-home display.
You can get also get a smart meter if you’re on prepay. Smart meters enable prepay customers to top-up in a number of ways, which could include online, via telephone or text message, or even with a smartphone app - no gas card or electricity key necessary.
I've just moved in and there's a smart meter, but no separate in-home display. What do I do?
You'll need to get in touch with your supplier as they are best placed to let you know more about the options available to you for getting a replacement in-home display. This wouldn’t involve replacing the meters, only the in-home display that would then be paired with the existing smart meter.
How do smart meters work?
Your smart meter measures how much gas and electricity you use and securely shares this directly with your energy supplier at least once a month and your portable in-home display in near real time. You won't have to take any meter readings manually - your smart meter will send automatic readings to your energy supplier via the secure smart data network which is solely for smart meters. This works in a similar way as other wireless systems but does not use the internet.