Myth busting smart meter problems & issues
You will have heard about smart meters and the benefits they bring to the environment and Britain’s energy infrastructure. But if you do have concerns about getting a smart meter, you’re in the right place. Below, we set the record straight on your key concerns:
- Can you switch supplier with a smart meter?
- Do smart meters pose a radiation risk?
- Are smart meters safe?
- Can smart meters spy on you?
- Do smart meters work in low signal areas?
- Will your smart meters affect your wi-fi?
- Is there an accessible in-home display?
- Are smart meters hard to read?
- Will your energy supplier get your meter readings with a smart meter?
- Will your in-home display work?
- Will your bills be accurate with a smart meter?
- Can you get a smart meter if you rent?
- Can you get a smart meter if you have solar panels?
- Can you get a prepay smart meter?
- Do you have to get a smart meter?
Can you switch supplier with a smart meter?
You can switch energy supplier with a smart meter. And with a second-generation meter, you will be able to switch and keep all of your smart functions with no interruption.
If you have a first-generation smart meter, there’s a chance it will lose some smart functionality, but this isn’t a barrier to switching energy supplier.
These first-generation meters will either be migrated into the new smart data network or replaced with a second-generation meter by the end of the rollout.
• Find out more: Switching supplier with a smart meter
Do smart meters pose a radiation risk?
Exposure to radio waves from smart meters is much lower than from other electronic appliances, such as mobile phones and wi-fi equipment.
Public Health England (PHE) has carried out an extensive programme of research and found that smart metres are safe, and pose no risk to public health.
• Find out more: Smart meters and your health: the truth
Watch the video below to see us put this to the test:
Anything with an electrical current will give off an EMF reading…
A smart meter, or an analogue meter, or your vacuum cleaner, or your microwave, or your mobile phone, or even your kettle.
None of these are dangerous to your health.
Smart meters are as safe as your toothbrush.
Are smart meters safe?
Smart meters are covered by strict UK product safety laws. This ensures that all smart meters have the same high quality and safety standards, regardless of your supplier.
• Find out more: Smart meters are safe
Can smart meters spy on you?
A smart meter neither sees nor hears; they can only measure the amount of gas and electricity you use. Personal details, such as your name, address and bank account details are not stored or transmitted by your smart meter.
Smart meters were designed in consultation with the UK’s top security experts, so you can be sure your energy readings are protected.
• Find out more: Smart meters are safe
Do smart meters work in low signal areas?
Second-generation smart meters operate on a secure smart data network which isn’t reliant on mobile phone signals. This network will cover more than 99.25% of Great Britain by the end of rollout.
If you have a first-generation smart meter, it will be enrolled onto this smart data network by the end of the rollout, or replaced by a second-generation smart meter.
• Find out more: Smart meters and wi-fi
Will your smart meters affect your wi-fi?
Smart meters do not use wi-fi to send your data; they use their own secure data network. Because of this, smart meters should not cause any delays or issues with your wi-fi connection. Any issues with your wi-fi connection should be dealt with by your internet provider directly.
• Find out more: Smart meters and wi-fi
Is there an accessible in-home display?
If you’re blind, partially sighted, have difficulties with dexterity or memory loss, an accessible in-home display could make tracking your energy usage easier. This is thanks to the additional features they have, such as large buttons and text-to-speech functionality.
• Find out more: The accessible in-home display
Are smart meters hard to read?
Smart meters use a secure smart data network to automatically and wirelessly send your meter readings to your supplier at least once a month. So, you don’t have to read your meters at all! Unlike with traditional meters…
And on top of that, you’ll have an in-home display which will tell you what those numbers on a traditional meter really mean. The in-home display lets you know how much energy you’re using in near-real-time and how much it’s costing you in pounds and pence.
• Find out more: How to read a smart meter
Your in-home display is a portable device that can sit anywhere in the home. It communicates with your smart meter and shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using, in pounds and pence.
Will your energy supplier get your meter readings with a smart meter?
There could be a number of reasons why your energy company isn’t receiving your meter readings. Here are some potential problems:
• Your supplier is having connectivity issues
• If you have a first-generation smart meter, it may not be working in smart mode
No matter what your issue, the best way to solve the problem is to contact your energy supplier and explain the situation.
Will your in-home display work?
There are a few reasons why your in-home display might not be working:
• The in-home display might need charging
• The in-home display might be faulty
• There could be a connection issue between the in-home display and smart meter
The best thing to do if your in-home display isn’t working is to contact your energy supplier. They could repair or replace the in-home display if it is still within the 12-month warranty. But if yours was installed over 12 months ago, your energy supplier may apply a charge.
• Find out more: In-home display FAQs
Will your bills be accurate with a smart meter?
Yes! With a smart meter, you’ll receive accurate, not estimated bills.
The first bill you receive after having your smart meter installed may still be estimated, but following this, you should have accurate bills. If you’re still receiving estimated bills after this, you should contact your energy supplier.
If you still believe that your bills are inaccurate, contact your energy supplier. It could be because you were previously receiving low estimates from your energy supplier, and your smart meter is now tracking your energy use accurately.
Can you get a smart meter if you rent?
If you’re a tenant and pay the bills in your rental property, you’re entitled to ask for a smart meter. However, Ofgem recommends telling your landlord before getting one.
• Find out more: Smart meters and rented property
Can you get a smart meter if you have solar panels?
If you have solar panels, or generate renewable electricity, you could still have a smart meter installed. But some energy suppliers aren’t ready to supply smart meters to customers with solar panels just yet. Your supplier should be able to give you a timeframe for when they can offer this.
If you already have a smart meter and solar panels, your in-home display will currently only display the energy you’re using. It will not be able to show you how much power your solar panels are generating.
Despite this, there are energy tariffs being offered that pay you for exporting your renewable energy to the smart energy system. These tariffs can be obtained by getting a smart meter installed.
You should let your energy supplier know that you have solar panels when setting up your smart meter installation, so they can provide you with the more relevant advice.
Can you get a prepay smart meter?
All smart meters can be switched between prepay and credit mode. So if you’re eligible to receive a smart meter, you’re eligible to receive a prepay meter. The best way to find out if you’re eligible for a smart meter is to contact your energy supplier.
Do you have to get a smart meter?
Smart meters are not compulsory; it's entirely your choice whether you accept one. But there are many reasons to accept a smart meter, from helping you take control of your energy bills, to environmental benefits.
If you’re unsure about your rights, click the link below.
• Find out more: Do I have to get a smart meter?
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