Smart meter installation: What happens before, during and after your smart meters are installed
Over half the homes in the UK now have smart meters. For the majority of people installation is a very simple and straightforward process which doesn’t involve major work or disturbance to your home.
- What’s involved with smart meter installation?
- Things to check before the installation appointment
- The day of the installation
- How long does it take to install a smart meter?
- The in-home display
- Will the person installing the smart meter be qualified?
- Making smart meter installations safe
- After your installation
- Smart meter installation video
What’s involved with smart meter installation?
Firstly, you need to arrange with your energy company a time and date for your smart meters to be fitted. An installer replaces your traditional gas and/or electricity meters with new smart meters. The installer will offer you an in-home display which gives you information on how much energy you’re using and what that is costing you. That’s usually it!
Your smart meters will send your meter readings safely and securely to your energy company. You can track your energy usage on your in-home display, and through the website or app that your energy company uses.
If you want to find out more about the smart meter installation process, we’ll explain what’s involved right here.
Your first step is to contact your energy supplier. You can do that very simply by typing their name in the box below, we’ll take you to the right place and you can start the process. They’ll usually request you to login with your account details so ensure you have those to hand.
Your energy company will then agree a time and date for your installation appointment with you. You or someone else aged 18 will need to be present during the installation, so factor this in when agreeing the time for your appointment. At this point your energy company will let you know what to expect and if there’s anything else you need to do in preparation.
If your home’s gas and electricity are supplied by different suppliers, we suggest having your electric smart meter installed before your gas smart meter.
Things to check before the installation appointment
Clearing space around your existing meters
A Smart meter installation usually involves replacing your existing, traditional meters with new smart meters. That means ensuring the installer can get access to your existing meters to do the work. That might mean clearing some space around them if they’re in a cupboard or tucked away under the stairs, for example.
Temporary power cut
You will lose power during the installation. Typically this is for 30 mins for each meter, gas and electricity, installed. This disturbance will be kept to as short a time as possible but you should plan for this happening.
If you have pets who may be disturbed by the installation you should plan to have them in another room while the work is taking place.
Don’t miss your appointment!
Smart meter installers group appointments by location so they don’t have to travel long distances between installations, reducing the carbon emissions given off when they travel.
Try to avoid cancelling your smart meter appointment so installers don’t have to make an extra trip to your area, increasing their carbon footprint. Don’t miss out while installers are in your area – book an installation appointment when you know you’re going to be available.
The day of the installation
Your energy company may contact you in advance of the installation to confirm the details with you.
You will need to let the installer into the property. The installer should not turn up unexpectedly – they should arrive at about the time of the appointment. They should have a valid ID card – if it is not presented you can ask them to show it to you.
You don’t have to be present in the same room as the installation but you do need to be on the property.
Depending on whether you're having one or both replaced, you'll get an electricity smart meter and/or a gas smart meter. These smart meters normally go exactly where your old meters were. If they need to be fitted nearby, the installer will ask you first.
Different suppliers may install different smart meter makes and models, but rest assured that every smart meter installed as part of this national rollout must meet a common set of technical standards.
What the smart meter installer should tell you
As part of the smart meter installation the installer should:
• show you a photo ID card before they start
• explain what your smart meter system does and how to use it
• check it’s all working properly
• give you a handy guide to using it
• answer any questions you have
• tell you where you can find more help and information
• demonstrate the in-home display if you have accepted one
• provide energy efficiency advice
How long does it take to install a smart meter?
It usually takes approximately one hour to install each smart meter. If you’re having both an electricity and gas smart meter installed at the same time, it should take about 2 hours for the whole process. If you’re just having 1 smart meter installed, then it should take about an hour.
The in-home display
As part of the installation, you’ll also be offered an in-home display – a portable display screen that you can put anywhere in your home. You don’t have to have one, but it’s the easiest way to see what energy you’re using and what it’s costing you. This is provided at no extra cost.
The in-home display will show you exactly how much energy you're using in near-real time in pounds and pence, so it's easier for you to keep an eye on what you're using. With this information, you can identify the situations where you’re using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it. If you reduce your energy use, you should be able to cut your energy costs.
You can find out more about in-home displays here.
Will the person installing the smart meter be qualified?
Yes, all installers have to pass a formal qualification and have to meet specific national standards. These standards are set out in the Smart Metering Installation Schedule. All the energy suppliers have signed up to this code, which is regulated by Ofgem, who have powers to enforce it by fining suppliers if necessary. So you can be sure the installation of your smart meter is safe.
You can find out more about smart meter safety here.
Making smart meter installations safe
The smart meter installation process is planned with you in mind. This includes providing important information to you before installation and ensuring that the engineers carry out the installation in a courteous and professional manner.
Suppliers regularly review and update their working practices to ensure installer and customer safety regarding COVID-19. If you are concerned at all you should speak to your supplier about this when booking your installation.
After your installation
Once your smart meter is installed, your meter readings will automatically be sent to your energy supplier, meaning you will receive accurate, not estimated bills. And because all smart meters are certified by the Office for Product Safety & Standards, you can be sure your smart meter is accurate.
You will be able to control how often your smart meter takes a meter reading and how much data your smart meter sends to your energy supplier. This can range from half-hourly, daily, or in some cases, monthly meter readings.
Find out how smart meters can help you save money and help reduce your carbon footprint.
Smart meter installation video
Our smart meter installation video gives you an overview of what to expect during the installation process.
There are a few important things you’ll need to prepare before your smart meter installation. Firstly, make sure you know where your current gas and electricity meters are located and check that they’re easy to get to. If you think this might be an issue or you believe your current gas and electricity meters are difficult to access or locate, please let your energy supplier know well in advance.
Your supplier will have been in touch to arrange this installation. They will never turn up on your doorstep unexpectedly. When the installer arrives, they'll take all reasonable steps to keep you safe. They should present you with a valid identity card including the company name and phone number, as well as their name and photograph. You can ask to see this if the installer does not present it upfront. You’ll need to be present during the installation, which will take around an hour for your gas meter and an hour for your electricity meter, during which time your energy supply will be cut off for a short period.
Once your smart meter has been installed, the installer will talk you through how to use your new in-home display. If a gas meter is being installed, the installer will also perform a visual safety check on your gas appliances as part of the installation. It’s worth remembering that smart meters are provided at no extra cost, so you will not have to pay your smart meter installer.