Tariffs and bills
- Time-of-use tariffs - what are they, can I get one and why are they useful?
Energy suppliers can offer tariffs that charge different rates at different times, but the choice is firmly with the consumer - no household is obliged to select a time-of-use (TOU) tariff.
Gas and electricity time-of-use tariffs are designed to make it cheaper to use energy at times of the day when fewer households are using it.
With smart meters, people will be able to take advantage of more dynamic TOU tariffs. These kinds of tariffs are encouraging people to shift their energy use to various off-peak periods, when the price is cheaper. This will help even out demand throughout the day which is important because, at the moment, we have to increase our use of fossil fuels during peak periods to ensure we can all use energy when we need it.
If we can reduce demand in peak periods, we can use more renewable energy across the day to make our system cleaner and greener.
Charging electric vehicles (EVs) is a great example. Someone with a TOU tariff might want to charge up their car when their energy is the cheapest, which can also help take some of the load off our energy system during peak hours when the demand is already high.
We've got a handy article on our website, which explains how TOU tariffs work.
A little while ago some people with smart meters and time-of-use tariffs were paid to use energy! Find out more about it here.
- Time-of-use-tariffs - are they compulsory?
- No. They are there to suit lifestyles, not the other way around. If you don't think you'd benefit from a time-of-use tariff, you don't have to choose one.
- Could smart meters switch my supplier/tariff automatically depending on who's got the cheapest deals?
- Innovations such as this can be possible with smart meters! We'd recommend reading this report to find out more.
- Can I get a smart meter if I've got Economy 7 / Economy 10 supply?
If you have an E7 or E10 supply you can get a smart meter as part of the national rollout. Contact your supplier to find out more and to request a smart meter.
- Will a meter reader still have to visit?
Energy suppliers need to receive at least one meter reading per year. This can be achieved by your smart meter sending in an automated reading or you sending in a meter reading yourself that they accept. If this isn't possible, an inspection of the meter may be necessary.
If your supplier has asked you for a meter reading, it may also be that your smart meter has lost some of its smart functionality and isn't sending automated meter readings. Your supplier is best placed to give you more information about your particular situation.
- Can my supplier change my tariff without me knowing?
- No - you choose which tariff you want to be on.
- Why are suppliers only offering the best deals to those with a smart meter?
- It's true that there are some great deals for smart meter customers! Our advice is to request a smart meter and take advantage of the many benefits - including some of the cheapest energy tariffs, clear information on energy use, and an end to estimated bills.
- I've got a tariff that requires me to have a smart meter installed
All energy suppliers are obliged to offer smart meters to all of their customers before the end of the rollout, but it's up to you whether you accept one or not.
However, some energy suppliers are offering their customers smart meter-only tariffs which require that the customer have a smart meter installed, and each supplier will have their own terms and conditions for these tariffs.
Your energy supplier is best placed to answer any questions you have relating to your particular tariff, as they will be able to provide you with more specific information about your circumstances.
- Can smart meters increase my energy/gas bill?
Smart meters alone cannot lead to higher energy bills. They meet the same strict requirements for accuracy as traditional meters.
If your bill does increase after installing a meter, it is either because your energy consumption has increased, or because your traditional meters were not giving accurate readings and you were temporarily underpaying.
As you would with your traditional meter, we'd recommend contacting your energy supplier if you're ever unsure about your bills.
- Can I still get quarterly bills if I've got a smart meter?
- Your billing options are based on the agreement between you and your supplier. Having a smart meter installed doesn't change this. If you have questions about your options for paying your energy bills, please speak to your supplier directly.
- I'm in debt with my energy supplier - is my smart credit meter going to be switched to a prepay meter?
You may be switched to prepay if you're in debt with your energy supplier, but there is no extra cost for that.
If a consumer falls into debt with a traditional analogue meter an energy supplier would usually charge to install a new analogue prepayment meter in their home. This would add to the debt of the consumer.
With smart meters, consumers can be switched from credit to prepayment mode without the cost of a new meter being added to their existing debt. By having a smart meter in the first place, the household can access some of the cheapest energy deals available, reducing the risk of falling into debt in the first place and have the benefit of seeing their energy usage in near real time via their in-home display allowing them to better manage their spending.
Your supplier is best placed explaining you your options and we recommend contacting them directly.