About the rollout
- Are smart meters compulsory?
- No, smart meters are not compulsory and it's entirely your choice if you'd like one installed in your home or not. But of course, we recommend households across Great Britain request a smart meter and be part of building a low-carbon energy system and conserving our valuable energy resources.
- Why do we need smart meters?
As we can expect a mass uptake of electric vehicles and other low carbon tech, we'll need a system that can keep up with that demand. A truly smart energy system has smart meters at its heart and helps build a greener economy and help Britain meet its low carbon emission targets.
What's more, smart meters have other benefits that set them apart from traditional meters. For example, in the future, smart meters will be able to work with smart appliances in the home - something traditional meters are not able to do. This means we can take even better advantage of off-peak times when the cost of energy is lower. And while traditional meters can work with some other tariffs (such as E7, for example), smart meters will unlock a vast amount of new dynamic tariffs.
- Is the cost of the rollout worth it?
- Yes. Smart meters are an essential upgrade to our outdated energy system. The savings of £19.5 billion will far outweigh the investment of almost £13.4 billion - meaning an overall saving of over £6 billion between now and 2034.
- Are there any benefits for me?
Smart meters have many benefits for consumers. For example, you won't have to send in manual meter readings any more, as smart meters send them automatically to your supplier.
You can then have peace of mind that you'll receive an accurate (not estimated) bill. You'll also receive an in-home display (IHD), which shows you exactly how much energy you're using in near-real time.
And, in future, smart meters will be able to work with smart appliances - something traditional meters are not able to do. This means we can take better advantage of off-peak times when the cost of energy is lower. And while traditional meters can work with some other tariffs (such as E7, for example) smart meters will unlock a vast amount of new dynamic tariffs.
- Can smart meters save me money?
Yes. Saving energy at home is possible by the homeowner measuring their energy use and cutting waste. Smart meters alongside with the in-home display (IHD) will help make it easier for us to identify the situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it. If you use the information shown on your IHD to help reduce your energy use, you should be able to reduce your energy bill.
Many people have spoken to us about their experiences of saving money with the help of their smart meter. Discover these stories here.
- Where are the smart meters manufactured?
- Some of the components for smart meters will be manufactured abroad, but factories in the UK are likely to be doing the final assembly and technical configuration of the millions of meters that will be needed for the rollout. We would recommend contacting your supplier directly as they will have greater knowledge about the specific meter they will install in your home.
- Can traditional meters be recycled after use?
As part of their licence conditions, all energy suppliers must adhere to codes of practice which cover the removal, recycling and disposal of traditional meters (for both gas and electricity).
If your energy supplier is the original owner of your traditional meter then they are responsible for its proper removal, and will assess whether it should be re-used, recycled or disposed of. Otherwise, your supplier is obliged to return the meter to its original owner for recovery.
Traditional meters have to be disposed of in a way that is safe and environmentally friendly, and as much as 98% can be recycled. Depending on the meter type, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations may also apply, and these state that the original manufacturer must share responsibility for items they have produced.
Each energy supplier will have their own plans for the safe recycling and disposal of traditional meters, we recommend that you contact your energy supplier directly for information about their recycling policy.
- What is the carbon footprint of making smart meters?
The manufacture of all goods and appliances, including energy saving devices such as low energy light bulbs and smart meters, has a carbon footprint, that's a fact. It's also fact that a smart energy system enabled by smart meters will lead to a substantial reduction in carbon emissions. By decarbonising our energy system, (which will then enable other sectors, such as transport, to decarbonise), we will dramatically reduce our nation's carbon footprint on the whole.
If you need more information about this, we'd recommend contacting the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as the leading Government department for the smart meter rollout.
- I'm getting too many communications from my suppliers about smart meters
If you're concerned about the types of communications you're receiving from your energy supplier, we'd suggest that you contact them to find out how they can resolve this for you.
If you would like support in raising these issues, Citizens Advice are able to assist you.