Michael, Greater Manchester
By saving energy and getting more accurate bills from his energy company, Michael’s smart meter has helped him to cut his gas and electricity bills by half. Michael is retired and lives with his wife in a semi-detached house in Withington.
We had a smart meter installed in the autumn of 2014 after we had a bit of a shock from some unusually high bills. Our energy company had been underestimating our usage and we were told that our monthly bills would rocket from £90 to £210. We agreed that I could pay off the excess over three months at £190 per month, after which our direct debit would drop to £100. This was still more than we were paying before and, because my wife and I are both retired, we are keen to make sure we don’t overspend.
Shortly after that our energy company contacted us to ask if we wanted a smart meter. By then I had already realised I was using too much electricity – we had two pumps on the pond, three fridges and a tumble dryer. Once I realised how much we were using I took one pump out, one fridge out and stopped using the dryer so much.
Getting our smart meter was quite straightforward. A technician came to install it, talked me through everything, and left a booklet. For the first few weeks I checked the in-home display all the time but now I’ve moved it to a different place and I only look at it when I need to.
Our electricity bills are now down to £55 a month, which is even less than we were paying before our energy company realised they had been underestimating our bill. A combination of saving energy and getting accurate bills has made a real difference to us. The smart meter automatically sends information back to the energy company about how much gas and electricity we are using and they reassess our direct debit every three months.
The last bill we got was practically balanced, with £3 in credit. I feel confident that we’re not going to get back into the situation we were in before.