FAQs - Using a smart meter
- How do I use my smart meter?
The installer who fits your smart meter will show you how to use your new meter and in-home display. They'll check it’s working and answer any questions you may have, so you’ll get the benefits of your new smart meter straight away.
Your in-home display has all sorts of features to help you control your energy use and lower your bills. You can see:
- how much energy you’re using in near real time and what it's costing you in pounds and pence (as well as kilowatt hours)
- how much energy you've used in the last day, week, month, or year (if you've had your contract that long)
Your in-home display shows your energy use information and you'll still receive energy bills, but now they will be accurate without you needing to submit meter readings.
If you’re on prepay, your in-home display will also show how much credit you have.
- Can my smart meter help me save money?
Smart meters can help us to identify situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to this. If you use the information shown on your smart meter in-home display to reduce your energy use, you could cut your energy costs.
Smart meters also mean accurate bills as they bring an end to estimates, so you can be confident that you're only paying for what you've actually used.
- Can I switch tariff or energy supplier if I have a smart meter?
Yes. People with a smart meter can switch energy supplier and tariff in exactly the same way as anyone with a traditional meter can. Smart meters should make switching easier, as you'll have the information you need to make an informed decision and choose the best tariff and supplier for you.
- Will my smart meter stop working if I switch energy supplier?
No. Your smart meter will continue to accurately record your gas and electricity usage. However if you're considering changing energy supplier, it's best to check if your new supplier can support smart metering technology before you agree to switch.
In this early stage of the rollout, some people with SMETS1 type meters may find that if they switch supplier, they need to start sending meter readings again in order to get an accurate bill.
This is just a temporary situation. A secure national communications network for smart meters is being set up. Once SMETS1 meters have been enrolled into this network they will become interoperable between suppliers and will once again deliver their full benefits.
- Can I get a different smart meter or in-home display?
At the moment, your smart meter and in-home display come as a set, so you can’t connect other types of smart meter or display. As smart technology continues to evolve, new display types may be developed that can, but you should never need to replace your meter if you're changing your display.
- Will in-home displays work for people with disabilities or impairments?
All in-home displays are designed to display information in a way that’s easy to understand. However, an ‘accessible’ in-home display with additional features has been developed in conjunction with the RNIB, and includes features such as large buttons and text-to-speech functionality. Depending on the severity of the condition, those with impaired sight, memory and learning ability, and perception and dexterity may find that the accessible in-home display meets their needs better.
Consumers wishing to use an accessible in-home display should contact their energy supplier to see if they will be offering these to their customers in due course.
- Where should I put my in-home display?
The majority of consumers put the in-home display in their kitchen, where they can easily see it at a glance. You can put it wherever is most convenient for you. Just make sure it’s somewhere that it won’t get wet, that’s near a plug socket and where everyone in the household can see it.
- What should I do if I have difficulties using my in-home display?
Your energy supplier is responsible for helping you understand how to use your in-home display, and instructions on how to use the in-home display will be shared with you during your installation, or sent to you. If you encounter any problems with your in-home display and would like further advice, you should contact your supplier directly.
- My in-home display has been off for some time. Can I start using it again?
Yes. It can take a short while to update though, so please wait 24 hours before checking it.
Your smart meter continues to work, even if your in-home display is turned off. Your display holds up to 13 months of data in its memory, so you’ll still be able to see how much energy you’ve used.
- How often will my smart meter readings be sent?
You can choose how often your smart meter sends data to your gas and electricity supplier. Monthly is minimum, daily or half-hourly are optional. You can change your preference for how often you share this information at any point by getting in contact with your supplier directly.
- How accurate is the cost that's shown on the in-home display?
The cost shown on your in-home display should reflect your energy consumption and be reconcilable with your bill. It will include standing charges and VAT, although it may not show any discounts or ad hoc charges.
- My in-home display is faulty. What can I do?
Contact your energy supplier. If you've had the in-home display for less than 12 months, and the display has broken or is no longer working as it should, your supplier will replace it free of charge. After that time you may be required to pay for a replacement.
- I didn't want an in-home display when I got my smart meter, but I've changed my mind. Can I still get one?
If you didn't want an in-home display, but have changed your mind, you're still entitled to receive one at no extra cost up to 12 months after your smart meter installation date. Just contact your energy supplier and they will provide one.
If you've had your smart meter for longer than 12 months, ask your supplier. You may be required to pay for it.
- I'm moving home. Can I take my in-home display with me?
No, it won't work. If you’re moving home, please leave your in-home display at your property so the new householder can benefit from using it.
- I've just moved in and there's a smart meter, but no separate in-home display. What do I do?
Your supplier can provide a new in-home display for you. You'll need to get in touch with them so they can check what type of meter you have and arrange for a smart meter installer to visit your property. The installer won't replace the meter; they'll bring your new in-home display and pair it with the existing smart meter.
- I have a smart meter, so why is my supplier asking for a reading?
As with all wireless technology, smart meters may occasionally experience connectivity issues. Just like mobile phone or Wi-Fi networks, these problems can be caused by a number of issues that can usually be resolved quickly. If your smart meter cannot communicate with your energy supplier via the designated wireless network, they may ask you for a temporary manual reading so that your bills will remain accurate, until the problem is resolved.
- I have a smart meter, so why have I received an estimated bill?
The first bill you receive after having your smart meter installed may still be estimated. If you are still receiving estimated bills after this, you should contact your energy supplier.
- Can I be charged different prices at different times of day?
Yes, but only if you choose a time-of-use tariff from your energy supplier. Time-of-use tariffs could mean lower bills if you use energy outside peak times. They will also help energy suppliers to better manage periods of peak demand.
Time-of-use tariffs are not compulsory and if they suit your lifestyle, could save you money. There are already some time-of-use tariffs such as Economy 7 and Economy 10, or even free energy at certain times of day, but smart meters mean that time-of-use tariffs can be more flexible.
- Can my energy supplier cut off my gas or electricity remotely?
You’re protected by strict regulations against your energy supplier switching off or disconnecting your gas or electricity supply. This protection remains as strong with smart meters as it is with traditional meters.