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Jen, Greater Manchester

Jen Hughes in kitchen

Jen and her partner asked their energy supplier for a smart meter because they wanted accurate bills without the hassle of manual meter readings. Their smart meter has also helped them to learn about the small ways they can save on day-to-day energy. Jen lives in Stockport in a terraced house with her partner, three cats and a dog.

We had our smart meter installed in the summer of 2014 after I asked my energy supplier if we could have one. I had read something about the benefits online so when I phoned in with my meter reading, I decided to use the opportunity to ask about smart meters as well.

The installation was really straightforward and afterwards the technician showed us how to use the in-home display. This was particularly handy because I don’t think I’d have had a clue what to do with it otherwise. It’s a nice little device and it’s very user-friendly.

I’ve always hated the idea of estimated bills so in the past I was registered to receive SMS reminders if I needed do a manual meter reading. Now I don’t have to worry about that because the smart meter does everything for me. With the in-home display I can also check how much gas and electricity we’re using at any given moment. We found this really intriguing at first and a couple of times we even carried the display around the house with us to see how different appliances affected our bills!

Most of the time our display screen displays a picture of a smiley face, which is representative of a ‘happy house’. If we suddenly start using a lot of energy it changes to a sad face and the ‘unhappy house’ status. I’ve noticed this often happens when we switch on our gigantic oven, which is interesting because I had no idea it uses so much energy. There is also an option to set a daily budget which I use quite casually as a rough guide – if we’re close to our target budget it’s an additional reminder to switch off unused lights.

Having a smart meter has made me more aware of the energy we use day-to-day and I’m much more conscious about switching things off around the house. We even recently invested in a clever plug which means that when we turn the TV off, all the added extras like the surround-sound and the Virgin box go off too.

Since the installation of my smart meter, I haven’t seen that much difference in the amount that we pay for our energy, but this is due to the fact that this year I have used my heating more than normal because of the colder weather. During these cold spells though, I have been able to track and monitor my energy usage and where possible, take steps to keep my bills under control.