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Do smart meters cost more – are smart meters more expensive?

If you have a smart meter, you won’t pay more for your energy than if you had a traditional meter.

Read on to learn more about smart meter costs, such as standing charges and smart meter running costs.

Do smart meters cost more than traditional meters?

No – you won’t pay more for energy if you have a smart meter. The unit rate you pay for your energy won’t change when you get a smart meter installed, unless you change your energy tariff at the same time.

What’s more, smart meters can actually help you save money by helping you track your energy use. Smart meters can also give you access to time-of-use-tariffs and schemes like the Demand Flexibility Service.

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Do smart meters increase bills?

No, having a smart meter will not increase your bill. The only thing that changes when you get a smart meter is how you and your energy supplier get information about your energy use. Your energy tariff and the amount you pay for energy does not change.

Smart meters send automatic meter readings to your supplier on a half-hourly, daily, in some cases, monthly basis. This means that you get accurate, not estimated bills with a smart meter. Smart meters are just as accurate as traditional meters. So, the move from estimated to accurate bills would be the most likely cause of any changes to your energy bill when you get a smart meter.

For example, if you saw an electric bill increase after smart meter installation, it would be a sign that your old estimated bills were not accurate. If you have a smart meter, you can be sure you’re only paying for the energy you use.

Are smart meters more expensive to install than traditional meters?

No, smart meters are installed at no extra cost to you. The cost of smart meter installation is spread across everyone’s energy bills, like the cost of traditional meters. You do not need to pay any extra to have a smart meter installed.

In fact, if you have an old traditional meter that urgently needs replacing, some suppliers may charge for the installation of a traditional meter, while a smart meter would be installed as a replacement without any charge.

How much does a smart meter cost to run?

Smart meters do not cost you anything to run, because they don’t use your energy supply. Your smart meter in-home display, also known as an IHD, or smart meter monitor, does use your energy supply, but it costs less than £2 per year to power a smart meter in-home display.

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How much does it cost to run a smart meter in-home display?

The cost of the energy to power an in-home display, or IHD, is less than £2 per year. The smart meter display, which you’re offered during installation, shows how much energy you’re using in near real time. IHDs have been designed to be as energy efficient as possible.

In fact, it's a requirement that an in-home display can only use a maximum average of 0.6 watts. In comparison, an energy saving lightbulb uses 11 watts.

There are significant benefits for people using an IHD, including being able take steps to reduce their energy use and save money. An in-home display can help you see which appliances are costing you the most, so you can make sensible choices about the energy you use.

But, if you did want to turn off your IHD, your smart meters will keep running at no cost to you. You will still get other smart meter benefits, such as accurate billing, and automatic meter readings.

Do smart meters include standing charges?

Your smart meter display should include standing charges when it tells you your daily energy consumption in pounds and pence. With most suppliers, you have to pay standing charges. These charges are the same whether you have a traditional meter or a smart meter.

Standing charges are fixed daily amounts that help cover the cost delivering energy to your home. Most of us pay standing charges as part of our energy bills. Standing charges form part of your tariff. The amount you pay depends on your tariff and energy supplier, but not on whether you have a smart meter installed.  

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What is a standing charge?

A standing charge is part of most people's energy bills. It is a fixed daily charge which you have to pay, no matter how much gas or electricity you use. It covers energy suppliers’ costs, such as the cost of getting energy to your home, or the cost of maintaining energy networks.

Your standing charge should be listed on your energy bill at a daily rate. The amount you pay for your standing charge is determined by which energy supplier you are with and what tariff you are on.

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Do smart meters show standing charges?

Your smart meter in-home display should take standing charges into account and include them in the costs shown on the display. This way, you can track your energy bills using the in-home display.

But the smart meter itself, which is connected to your gas pipes or main electricity supply, won’t show your spending. The meters themselves only track your energy usage to send to your energy supplier. You’ll need an in-home display to see your standing charges.

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Smart meter standing charge: is there a standing charge for smart meters?

Standing charges are a fixed amount – they cover the cost of delivering energy to our homes, including the cost of meter installation and maintenance. The amount you pay depends on your tariff and energy supplier, but not on whether you have a smart meter installed.

This means that smart meter installation and maintenance is paid for in the same way as traditional meter installation and maintenance: through standing charges that make up a part of everyone’s energy bills.

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Smart meter surge pricing: can I be charged different prices at different times of day?

No, an energy supplier cannot charge you based upon when you use your energy, unless you choose such a tariff, which are known as time-of-use tariffs. Time-of-use tariffs are not compulsory and your supplier cannot switch your tariff without you knowing.

Time-of-use tariffs could mean lower bills if you use energy outside peak times. They also help energy suppliers to better manage periods of high demand. If they suit your lifestyle, these tariffs could save you money.

The National Grid also offers the Demand Flexibility Service scheme, which rewards customers for changing their energy habits at peak times. You have to have a smart meter if you want to take part in the Demand Flexibility Service scheme. But, if you do have a smart meter, the scheme is still completely voluntary and you do not have to take part if you don’t want to.

Conclusion: do smart meters cost more?

No, having a smart meter does not cost more than having a traditional energy meter:

  • You do not have to pay more for your energy with a smart meter.
  • You can have a smart meter installed at no extra cost.
  • You can track how much you pay for energy, including standing charges, with your smart meter in-home display.
  • Finally, while you can benefit from time-of-use tariffs with a smart meter, they are not compulsory. You will not experience energy surge pricing just because you have a smart meter.

Having a smart meter might even help you save money.

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Want to know more about smart meters?

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