The cost of smart meters: are smart meters free?
This page explains the price of smart meters, including the cost of smart meter installation and the in-home display.
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. Smart meters are replacing traditional meters, including prepay meters. They are being installed in homes across Great Britain at no extra cost.
Smart meters have many benefits. They send automatic meter readings, so you don’t have to. They also come with a handy in-home display, which helps you track how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence.
And, you can get a smart meter at no extra cost to you.
Do you have to pay for a smart meter?
You can get a smart meter at no extra cost to you. When you get a smart meter installed, there will be no extra charge on your bill. This is because energy suppliers are obliged to offer everyone in Britain a smart meter at no extra cost.
Energy suppliers are responsible for maintaining Britain’s energy meters. Just like the cost of running and maintaining traditional meters, the cost of smart meters is spread across everyone’s energy bills. Most of us pay standing charges as part of our energy bills. Standing charges are fixed daily amounts that help cover the cost of meter installation and maintenance for all meters – both smart and traditional.
Read more about smart meters and standing charges in our smart meter cost guide.
Smart meter installation cost: what does it cost to have a smart meter installed?
Smart meters are installed at no extra cost to you. You will not be charged extra for the smart meter installation. When you get a smart meter installed, your supplier will also offer you an in-home display, also at no extra cost, to help you track your energy usage.
As with the cost of smart meters themselves, suppliers cover the cost of installation, and spread the cost out across everyone’s energy bills.
If you are getting a smart meter installed, and are being charged for any equipment, you'll need to discuss this with your energy supplier. Occasionally, a supplier might need to carry out some extra work that requires the homeowner to cover the costs.
Who pays for smart meters?
Energy suppliers install smart meters at no extra cost. Smart meters are paid for in the same way as traditional meters. As with traditional meters, the cost of smart meter installation and maintenance is covered by standing charges. Standing charges are fixed daily amounts included in your energy bills.
Do we have to pay for smart meters?
Overall, the smart meter rollout is expected to save Great Britain money. Current estimates are that the smart meter rollout will lead to a total saving of £6bn for Great Britain by 2034. This is because smart meters help make Britain's energy system cleaner, greener and more efficient.
The government and Ofgem have made it clear that they expect any savings made by energy suppliers as a result of smart meters to be passed on to consumers. This is why some suppliers are already offering their customers smart meter-only tariffs, and smart time-of-use tariffs.
So, are smart meters free?
You can get a smart meter at no extra cost to you. The cost of smart meters is spread across everyone’s bills, paid for using standing charges. Because of the benefits of smart meters for Britain’s energy infrastructure, smart meters are expected to save Britain money in the long term.
The Government’s cost-benefit analysis projects that the smart meter rollout will lead to an overall saving of £6bn for Great Britain by 2034. It also states that the rollout has now passed its ‘breakeven point’. This means that every additional smart meter installed is adding to the net benefits of the programme.
Want to find out more?
- Are smart meters more expensive to run? Read about the cost of running a smart meter, smart meter stand charges and more.
- How could smart meters support Britain’s energy security? Find out how smart meters could help to create a future where we're less reliant on imported gas.
- What is the smart meter installation process? Get all the details about smart meter installation.