HOW WILL THE INSTALLATION HAPPEN?
The smart meter installation process is straightforward. Your energy supplier will install your smart meter at no extra cost and the installation only takes a couple of hours so you'll be up and running in no time. This page will help you to understand the installation process, how suppliers are taking COVID-19 into consideration for installations and how to avoid problems.
As national restrictions continue, energy suppliers may offer their customers the opportunity to upgrade to smart meters. Please check your supplier’s latest advice on their installation availability and process.
It is vital that people follow government regulations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Official guidance is updated regularly. 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.
Where installations are going ahead, energy suppliers are implementing socially distant ways of installing the technology and safety procedures to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19, which could include -
- Installers and customers taking all reasonable measures to maintain 2m distance
- Suppliers 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)
- 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.
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
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 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.
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.
- Switch supplier with a smart meter – smart meters are not a barrier to switching energy supplier, so don’t let that stop you requesting one.
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.