HOW CAN I READ A SMART METER?
With a smart meter, manual readings will become a thing of the past. Your meter will send your meter readings directly to your supplier, so you don’t have to. But if you do want to take a reading, your smart meter and accompanying in-home display will give you a few ways to do this.
This guide will help people who have a smart meter installed.
- Why would you take a manual smart meter reading?
- How to take a meter reading if you have a smart meter
- Are you looking at the in-home display or the smart meter?
- How to use your smart meter to take a meter reading
- How to use your in-home display to take a meter reading
- What else will your in-home display show you?
- How can the in-home display help you reduce your energy usage?
- How can the in-home display help prepay customers reduce their energy usage?
- How can I get a smart meter if I don’t have one?
Why would you take a manual smart meter reading?
With a smart meter, your meter readings will be sent automatically to your energy supplier. This means you’ll no longer need to take a meter reading. And you can expect accurate, not estimated bills.
But you may wish to take a meter reading to help you stay in control of your energy use. You can use these readings to compare your energy use across various timeframes. These can also help you set yourself budgets.
And if you change the settings on your smart meter so they no longer send your meter readings to your energy supplier automatically, you’ll have to take your meter readings manually.
Or you may need to take a meter reading if you have switched supplier and have a SMETS1 meter. These smart meters can temporarily lose some of their functionality following a switch. This means you may have to read the meters yourself for a little while.
The smart meter system is made up of two parts – the smart meters, which replace your traditional gas and electricity meters, and the in-home display – a portable screen that shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you.
Both parts of the system work together to ensure you receive accurate information about your energy use. Your smart meter records your electricity use in near- real time and every half hour for gas. The meter then securely shares these readings automatically with your in-home display for you to see.
You have the option to have this information sent to your supplier monthly, daily or even half hourly. The more frequently your supplier receives this data, the better they could advise you on where you can make savings. Smart meters can also help reconnect you more efficiently should your energy supply be cut off unexpectedly.
How to take a meter reading if you have a smart meter
There are 2 ways to take a meter reading with a smart meter and the accompanying in-home display –
- Using your smart electricity and/or gas meter
- Using your portable in-home display (IHD)
Are you looking at the in-home display or the smart meter?
The smart meter will usually be installed in the same place as your traditional meter. It sends your energy reading securely to your energy supplier. So you can expect accurate, not estimated bills.
When you have a smart meter installed, you can choose to accept an in-home display in your home.
The in-home display is a portable, handheld device which can be placed near your meter. So no more climbing into the basement for a meter reading. This displays your energy consumption information.
How to use your smart meter to take a meter reading
You can find your gas meter readings on your smart gas meter. The meter reading will normally be shown as a number followed by ‘m3’. You may need to speak to your energy supplier if it is difficult to find your meter reading. They will provide advice tailored to your type of in-home display.
For your electricity meter readings, you’ll have to look for your smart electricity meter. Electricity readings are presented in kilowatt hours (kWh).
Energy suppliers provide different smart meters, which means yours may look different to your friends’ or neighbours’. For specific advice on using your smart meter to take a meter reading, contact your energy supplier.
How to use your in-home display to take a meter reading
In-home displays are portable devices that can sit anywhere in the home. They communicate with your smart meter and show you how much gas and electricity you’re using, in pounds and pence.
There are various settings, which allow you to view your energy usage by the day, per week or per month. This means you can more accurately manage your costs and budgets.
Being able to view the details of your gas and electricity usage on your in-home display makes it easier to identify situations where you may be using a lot of energy and help you figure out ways in which you could reduce this.
Seeing how much energy you’re using as you use it means that, on those cold winter nights when you might be worried about the cost of turning up the heating, you can stay warm knowing exactly what it’s costing you.
Having this information also means you will be able to switch to a better deal more confidently.
Accessible in-home displays are now available for people with impairments, including sight. Contact your supplier to find out what’s available.
Whilst all in-home displays will, as a minimum, provide the same information by law, they won’t all look the same as each energy supplier provides their own make of display.
But, no matter what yours looks like, your in-home display will put you firmly in control of your energy use.
Your meter readings will be displayed on your in-home display.
Depending on your energy supplier, your in-home display may be different to your neighbours’. Different in-home displays could provide extra information. But they all show the same basic information on your electricity and/or gas usage, including your energy use in pounds, pence and kilowatt hours (kWh).
You should take your meter reading using kilowatt hours (kWh), and send these to your energy supplier. From there, your supplier will provide your final cost.
Your supplier will be able to help you use your smart meter if you’re having difficulties. Simply type your energy supplier into the box below and we'll connect you.
What else will your in-home display show you?
If you have an smart meter in credit mode, it could display the following depending on the in-home display type provided by your energy supplier -
- The time
- Battery charge status
- Signal strength
- Your electricity and/or gas consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh), and pounds and pence
- Your daily, weekly or monthly electricity and/or gas consumption
- Your historic energy consumption up to a rolling 13 month cycle
- Energy usage light indicators, which could include usage being visualised as low (green), medium (amber), or high (red), but will depend on the type of in-home display you have
- Your tariff price
If you’re a prepay customer, your in-home display could also display the following depending on the IHD type provided by your energy supplier -
- Your smart meter credit balance
- Low credit alert
- Emergency credit balance if this is activated
- Any debt
Your in-home display will also show you whether the meter is operating in prepay or credit mode.
How can the in-home display help you reduce your energy usage?
Your in-home display provides your energy usage data. You can use this to help you make more informed decisions about your energy use in your home. This energy usage data lets you -
- See exactly how much energy you use in pounds and pence
You check your near-real data for your electricity and/or gas usage in pounds and pence, and kilowatt hours (kWh). You can view your gas and electricity usage separately, or combined in kWh.
- See at a glance, whether your electricity use is high, medium or low, and how much it’s costing
In-home displays vary depending on your energy supplier. But your energy usage data could be shown as a traffic light, figures, or in another easy-to-read way.
- Control various settings, which allow you to view your energy usage by the hour, per week or per month.
All in-home displays allow you to see what you've spent over time, so you can track when spending is higher than usual.
It can also show historic consumption daily, weekly, monthly, or on a 13-month rolling cycle.
Some smart meters show your energy usage information in a graph, showing usage over time, so you can see the peaks and troughs of use.
How can the in-home display help prepay customers reduce their energy usage?
- You can view your energy consumption and remaining credit
The in-home display in prepay mode tells you your balance in pounds and pence, so you can see your energy consumption at a glance.
You can use this information to work out which appliances, such as your kettle, are using the most energy. And if you can, adjust accordingly.
- You can see when your credit is low
In-home displays will also give out a low credit alert if you’ve fallen below a low threshold. From there, you can enter your emergency credit.
This gives you more visibility over your credit, and can help you plan.
How can I get a smart meter if I don’t have one?
Many homes in Britain can upgrade to a smart meter right now. But where you live, the type of home you live in and the age and type of your existing meter may mean that your energy supplier will take a little longer to install yours.
Your supplier will be in touch when your smart meter is ready to be installed. If you would like to enquire about getting one now, please contact your energy supplier here.
Can I get a smart meter for free?
There is no additional cost for installation of your smart meter. At the point of installation you may be offered an in-home display that shows your spending in near-real time for no additional cost. You won’t have an extra charge on your bill because you choose to have a smart meter. The costs will be spread across everyone’s bills, just like the cost of running and maintaining today’s traditional meters are.
Do I need one smart meter for gas and another for electricity?
Yes, if you're a dual-fuel customer, both meters will need to be replaced. Your supplier will aim to install both meters on the same visit to make things as easy as possible. You will only need one in-home display to view both your gas and electricity usage. If your gas and electricity accounts are with different suppliers, you will have two separate smart meter installations - one from each of your suppliers.