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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Many energy suppliers are offering their customers the opportunity to upgrade to smart meters as the national lockdown starts to be eased. Energy suppliers are implementing new socially distant ways of installing the technology and new safety procedures to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

For Wales, England and Scotland, guidance for meter installers falls under the guidance for ‘working in other people's homes’. Official guidance is updated regularly and for the latest information for each nation please refer to the links below:

BEFORE YOUR INSTALLATION

Your energy supplier will contact you beforehand to arrange a time and date for your installation. They will tell you what to expect, how long it will take and if there’s anything special you need to do before the visit. If you haven't already been offered a smart meter, you can request one from your energy supplier.

Energy suppliers are implementing new socially distant ways of installing the technology and new safety procedures to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19, which could include - 

  • Taking all reasonable measures to maintain 2m distance
  • Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Wearing face coverings (or relevant PPE where this is typically required for work, including relating to the installation of smart metering)
Couple in kitchen with in home display

Some advice:

  • You will need to let the installer in on the day and make sure they can get access to your traditional meters. So you might need to clear out the cupboards. If you have any access issues, do let your supplier know.
  • Your engineer will need to turn off your electricity and/or gas supply to complete the installation. So, ensure you save any important documents on your computer saved and switch off household alarms before the installers visit. And remember to switch everything back on afterwards.

DURING YOUR INSTALLATION

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.

IHD on table

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.

During the installation, the installer has to:

  • 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 IHD if the customer has requested one
  • provide energy efficiency advice

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 meter readings are sent to your energy supplier, either monthly, daily or half hourly, with monthly being the minimum.

WILL THE PERSON WHO INSTALLS MY SMART METER BE PROPERLY 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 Code of Practice. 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.

Want to find out more?

  • Smart meter benefits – find out how requesting your smart meter can benefit your bills, as well as your carbon footprint.
  • 5 tips to tidy up your energy use – discover how making small changes at home can help you reduce your electricity and gas bills, including getting a smart meter.

FAQS

Do I need one smart meter for gas and another for electricity?

Yes, if you're a dual-fuel customer, both meters will need to be replaced. Your supplier will aim to install both meters on the same visit to make things as easy as possible. You will only need one in-home display to view both your gas and electricity usage. If your gas and electricity accounts are with different suppliers, you will have two separate smart meter installations - one from each of your suppliers.

How is my personal data kept safe when I have a smart meter?

Personal information such as your name, address and bank details are not stored on your smart meter. The meters simply record your gas and electricity readings in the same way as your traditional meter. The meter readings collected can only be shared with your energy supplier to allow them to prepare an accurate bill and they cannot share this without your permission. The data is transmitted safely, using a dedicated and secure wireless network. All this information about your energy use is strongly protected. Depending on how often you've agreed to share it with your supplier, your smart meter will send half hourly, daily or monthly meter readings (your usage data). You can change your preference for how often you share this information at any point by getting in contact with your supplier directly. If you have given them permission to do so, your energy supplier may also use this information to offer you tailored energy efficiency advice and improve the service they provide for you.