Britain's smart grid
A smart energy grid is key to achieving a low-carbon, efficient, and reliable way of providing gas and electricity to Great Britain. Smart meter technology is a crucial step to a smart energy grid.
Why we need a smart grid
A smart grid is a modern way of running our energy networks. Linking different hardware, communications and other technology, it’s like an internet for gas and electricity.
The smart grid has the potential to solve lots of our energy problems. It’ll better match supply and demand. It’s more efficient, greener and wastes less energy. It’s more secure and reliable. Unexpected power outages can be tackled faster too.
The smart grid will be much better at integrating green technologies, from electric cars to home rooftop solar panels and heat pumps. It will help us get the most from variable power sources like wind and solar.
Rebalancing the energy markets
Smart meters will change the relationship between us as customers and our energy suppliers. Understanding what we're spending on energy means comparing energy tariffs will be easy. Switching suppliers will be easier, faster and more transparent for all.
Smart meters can accurately measure near real time use of electricity, which means energy suppliers will also be able to identify more off-peak time periods and offer more tariffs that include cheaper pricing. As with any tariff, it will always be the customer's choice whether or not to sign up to a 'time of use' tariff.
How can I get a smart meter?
We’re all entitled to a smart meter and your energy supplier will contact you between now and 2020 to arrange your installation at no extra cost.
Some of us will have to wait longer than others to get our meter, but you can ask your energy supplier directly to see if you can have yours fitted now. How soon you can get your meter depends on your energy supplier, where you live and what kind of home you live in.
There are three straightforward steps to getting a smart meter installed:
- Ask your supplier - we'll all be offered a smart meter by 2020. Contact yours directly to see if you can get a smart meter fitted now.
- You fix a time and day for your supplier to come and install your smart meter (either you, or if you can't be there yourself, a nominated, responsible adult will need to be present during installation).
- Your supplier fits the meter and shows you how to use the in-home display.
What are the benefits for me?
There are plenty of gadgets that can help control energy use, but smart meters have two unique features:
- they show exactly how much energy you’re using and what it’s costing, in near-real time
- they send accurate meter readings to your energy supplier, so no more estimated bills or manual meter readings
With your smart meter, you’ll always be able to keep track of exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using in near real time, and what it costs in pounds and pence. This means you can be confident that you're only paying for what you have actually used and you'll always know what to expect in your next bill, so no more nasty surprises.