HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A SMART METER
You may already have a gadget at home that helps control your energy use. There are smart thermostats, devices which monitor your energy use and more. But how can you tell if you have a smart meter?
Smart meters are the next generation of a gas and electricity meter. They are being installed by energy suppliers in homes across Great Britain, at no extra cost. Read on to find out if you have a smart meter, and if it is operating in smart mode.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A SMART METER
If you have been told by your energy supplier that you do not need to send meter readings anymore because they are receiving automated meter readings, then you have a smart meter.
Smart meters use a secure smart data network to automatically send the reading to your energy supplier. That means you get accurate, not estimated bills, without needing to take a manual reading.
And 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 still not sure, you can check if you have a smart meter in your home, and what type it is (SMETS1 (first generation) or SMETS2 (second generation)) using the links below – no need to contact your energy supplier:
IS YOUR SMART METER WORKING IN SMART MODE?
If you think you have a smart meter but are 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:
And if you’re planning to switch supplier, this tool can tell you if your meter should work in smart mode after the switch – very handy!
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.
SO, 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 energy 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, bill payments or gas and electricity supply.
SMETS1 meters will be remotely connected into 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.
CAN I SWITCH SUPPLIERS WITH A SMART METER?
Yes! With a smart meter, you should have a seamless switching experience.
Watch the video below for more information:
Across Great Britain, millions of people have already claimed their smart meter from their energy supplier and are now enjoying the benefits of accurate bills and being able to identify the areas where they may be using lots of energy.
So what’s the story on switching?
All smart meters let you switch suppliers and could help to make the process easier and simpler for all. You may have heard that there are two types of smart meter, first generation and second generation. If you have a first generation smart meter, you may have a seamless switching experience, or you may have to temporarily send manual meter readings to your new supplier – this can be frustrating but your meter will still continue to accurately measure your usage as before, even if your in-home display may temporarily not show it.
Switching with a second generation smart meter should be seamless. The majority of smart meters being installed are second generation meters. The good news is that first generation meters are being remotely upgraded to use the same communication system as the second generation meters.
Once it has been remotely upgraded, you should never lose your smart features even if you switch supplier multiple times.
If you haven’t switched supplier and your smart meter isn’t working, please let your current supplier know about this as they're responsible for maintaining the smart metering kit in your home. You can find your energy supplier below:
WHAT DOES A SMART METER LOOK LIKE?
A smart meter comes in two main parts:
- Your traditional gas and electric meters will be replaced with smart meters which send your meter readings to your energy supplier
- You will also be offered an in-home display which will show you how much energy you're using in pounds and pence in near-real time
WHERE ARE SMART METERS INSTALLED?
Smart meters are replacing traditional analogue meters, including prepay key and card meters. They will usually be installed where the existing analogue meter was in your home.
So check if your meter is ticking away under the stairs, or outside in your garden.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A SMART METER AND OTHER DEVICES?
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. So you can 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.
WHY WOULD YOU GET A SMART METER IF YOU DON'T ALREADY HAVE ONE?
When you get a smart meter, you’ll start to see your energy differently. They enable you to monitor what you are using – and wasting – in near real time on your in-home display. Switching all your appliances on would move the dial to red, moving back into amber as some are switched off, through to green when everything is off.
You can get also get a smart meter if you’re on prepay. They 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.
My name's Sarah, I live in Chelmsford, I've got two children, one's six and one's sixteen. Being able to afford and cover the bills right now is really hard.
The rise in the cost of living has impacted us significantly because the gas, the electric, the food bills, school uniform, you know, everything's gone up and it's impacting life a lot more. So I started noticing my bills were going up just before Christmas, and it's really hard to stay in control and know which ones to pay first. It might be a bill rather than a jumper for my child, you know? You can't control something that you've got no control over, so you have to just worry, and worry for the next month to the next month.
Previously, before having a smart meter, I wasn't really aware of how much the tumble dryer or the washing machine, leaving the cooker on, leaving the TV on costs. Whereas now having a smart meter, I'd consciously turn the cooker off in the evening, the washing machine, the tumble dryer, the VT goes off. The smart meter that I have does show me what I'm spending, what I've got left, when I need to top up. And that's a small bit of control that I have got.
As well as having the in-home display, I also have the app on my phone, which is perfect because whilst I'm at work throughout the day I'll check the app and if I can see that the meters are running low I can quickly top up, I don't have to leave. You know, really easy: just go to the app and top it straight up and then you can see that the balance has gone up within a couple of minutes.
Anyone that's struggling as in friends or family, I would recommend a smart meter because you definitely know what you're spending.
WANT HELP USING YOUR SMART METER IF YOU HAVE ONE?
If you've got a smart meter installed, but you're not sure how to read it:
And once you have your smart meter, you can use it to monitor how much energy you use. With smart meters, simply having one will not automatically save you money, but the near real-time energy usage data smart meters offer will help you to make various adjustments that can help you stay on top of what you spend on energy:
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.