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Miriam, Middlesex

Miriam

Miriam’s smart meter stopped her worrying about inaccurately estimated bills. It has also served as an educational tool to demonstrate to her family that energy shouldn’t be wasted. Miriam lives in a semi-detached house in Pinner, with her three children and two mini hamsters.

Before we switched to a new energy supplier and had our smart meter installed, I found the process of billing frustrating. The meter reader didn’t come very often which meant that we almost always received inaccurate estimates. These didn’t reflect how much energy we had actually used and I was convinced we were being undercharged. I used to worry about stacking up an unnecessary debt but now, with our smart meter I know that every bill is accurate and precise.

I’ve never been someone who puts an unopened bill on the side and forgets about it, but now I feel safe in the knowledge that I am paying for exactly what I have used – no less, no more. I don’t use my in-home display that often if I am honest, although I do sometimes check it if I’ve used a lot of energy on a really cold day when we’ve all been indoors. It’s just for personal interest really; if my children and I are cold the heating will go on regardless of what the display says! I certainly don’t let it rule the way we use our energy but I do see it as a kind of visual aid – a bill you can see and monitor as and when you choose to.

When we first got the smart meter my older kids were fascinated by the in-home display; I think they thought they might be able to play games on it. Despite the disappointment it did prove to be quite a good educational tool because children tend to see heating and power as an invisible thing that we automatically have in our homes. When you explain that there is a price that comes with it and you can show it to them on a screen, they realise that energy shouldn’t be wasted or taken for granted.

Although I wouldn’t cut back on anything that is necessary to keep my family happy and warm, I think being able to see a visual representation of what I am spending has helped me cut back at times when we are using more energy than normal. I expect that this will help me save more, especially once summer finally arrives!