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David, Plymouth

David on his computer and next to his smart meter in-home display

David likes using his smart meter display to set a daily budget and has even been able to identify a faulty energy-guzzling adapter by tracking when his energy use was particularly high. David lives in a three-bedroomed new build in Plymouth, with his wife, their baby, and their pet dog. 

We live in a new build so our gas and electricity smart meters had already been installed when we moved into our home in September 2014. We had been living abroad for a few years, but I still remember how much I hated the prepay meter I had before leaving the UK. It always seemed to run out at 2am! I felt like my money disappeared really quickly, but I had no concept of what my energy was costing me as I was using it. 

Now we have a smart meter, we have chosen to pay by direct debit and we have a display to show us what we’re using as we go along. We keep the display in the kitchen and check it from time to time – mostly whenever the daily amount is creeping up, or if it is lower than normal. The budgeting tool on the smart meter display is particularly useful because we’ve set an alarm to warn us when we’re getting close to our personal daily budget. We can also compare day-to-day and week-to-week, but we don’t keep a close eye on this because we know we’re staying within a sensible amount each day. 

The smart meter display has proved to be an incredibly helpful tool for reducing our energy use. We noticed almost straight away that our display was showing huge power surges from time to time, and by taking note of when this happened, we realised that a faulty plug adaptor was the culprit. The smart meter display has also helped us to work out what is ‘normal’ usage for us on any given day, and helped us to get into good habits based around that. If I can see our budget creeping up, it’s a good incentive to look around the house and make sure nothing has been left switched on. 

In quite a few places around the house we’ve plugged everything into one extension lead, which means that we only need to flick one mains switch to turn everything off. It makes it so much easier to keep tabs on what’s been left on by accident. 

Having a smart meter is great because I like being able to keep an eye on things and I feel so much more aware of what we’re using. Recently, I’ve noticed that our daily budget alarm goes off much less than it used to, so we must be doing something right. I’m glad we have a smart meter now that we have a baby on the way, as with all the extra washing and time at home, it will be good to understand where the extra costs are coming from and how they are affecting our bills.