HOW SMART METERS COULD HELP WITH CARING
Caring for others is an important job. It doesn’t matter whether you are a formal carer or whether you just help someone out whenever they need it. Here you can find out how a smart meter can make life easier for both you and the person you care for.
What's on this page?
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They come with an in-home display, which shows you how much energy you're using and how much it costs. Smart meters and in-home displays have many benefits for carers.
How can you request a smart meter for someone else?
Having a smart meter is a huge deal for a carer.
You don’t have to worry about putting in meter readings, checking the meter.
If my dad knows that everything’s in control, then he feels much happier.
You’re like: “Dealt with, fine, okay, what do you want to do today?”
Have a chat with the person you care for to make sure they understand the benefits of a smart meter. If they’re happy to get a smart meter installed, then you can begin the process.
As a carer, you can normally book the appointment for the person you support. Their energy supplier may ask some security questions when arranging the appointment. You should speak to the person you care for about these questions before calling.
As a carer, you can normally book an appointment for the person you support. Their energy supplier may ask some security questions when arranging the appointment, so be prepared.
If you’re looking to act as a named third party, you should contact the supplier to see how you can be added to the account.
If you would prefer to call, you can find some energy suppliers’ free phone and text phone numbers here.
Why should you request a smart meter?
Helping keep track of energy spending
The information that the in-home display provides could help you, or the person you care for, decide when to turn the heating up, to make sure they stay warm. Or it could help you spot when something has been left on accidentally.
Know how much energy bills should be
Having a smart meter means getting a bill based on how much energy the person you support has used – not an estimate. This could take the guesswork out of balancing the budget for you and the person you care for.
Automatic meter readings
With a smart meter, the readings are sent directly and securely to your energy supplier. So, there’s no need for you – or the person you care for – to climb a ladder or crawl into a cupboard to read the meter. That means one less item on your busy to-do list.
You don’t need wi-fi to get a smart meter
Smart meters aren’t connected to the internet. The in-home display isn’t connected to the internet, either. There’s no need to have internet access to get one. So, you can request a smart meter for the person you care for without needing to check the wi-fi.
Your energy data is in safe hands
The only people who can see how much energy is being used are you, the person you care for, and their energy supplier. The only information that gets sent to energy suppliers is how much energy is being used and when. Suppliers can’t see what’s plugged in - or when the washing machine is on!
Prepay customers can top up remotely
With prepay smart meters you can now top-up online, via telephone or text message, or even with a smartphone app - no gas card or electricity key necessary. Meaning no more last-minute trips down the shop in the rain when the meter runs out!
Watch how Joe, an unpaid carer, has used a smart meter and accompanying in-home display to help keep track of his mother's energy usage:
My name is Joe. I live in Leeds. I am an unpaid carer for my mother-in-law for about 5 hours a week. My typical routine as an unpaid carer is: get up at five to walk the dog, and take the kids to school. My wife does quite a bit with the kids anyway and it's like a couple of times a week I go round to my mother-in-law's house, help her shopping, a couple of tip runs if needed, that sort of thing. So yeah, I'd say it's maybe three or four times a week. Do something like that
In terms of my mother-in-law's bills going up, we have seen the cost of food going up and maybe the cost of energy. Nothing that she can't deal with right now, but you don't know where it's going do you?
My mother-in-law at first didn't want a smart meter, it's just a little piece of tech, but once we talked about it and seen what it could do, I just think it helps me have that piece of mind that we're tracking those costs and hopefully they don't go out of control. So we can look at what she spent over the previous week, how much she is spending now. That sort of data just helps you to predict what's coming next.
So I'm known as the 'switcher off-er' in the house, I run around the house, switching all the switches off when my kids have been playing their games on tablets, they leave things switched on. Having a caring relationship with my mother-in-law, whether official or not, I think it's really rewarding to give something back to someone, especially being my mother-in-law, you know, grandmother to my kids. It's nice to give a bit back.
00:01:27:00 - 00:01:42:04
As a bit of a joke I call myself her 'favorite son-in-law', which is always a bit of a laugh. But other ways that she tries to give me a bit back is, she'll have the kids a bit more so me and my wife can do something or she might just buy me a cake when she goes out. So yeah, just little things like that little token things really.
What will happen during the installation?
Your smart meter installation is safe and secure. It also comes at no extra cost. The supplier should check if there are any specific needs you might have for the installation.
For example, if the person you care for needs their home's energy to help them with health conditions.
If the energy supplier forgets to check while you are booking your appointment, please make sure they are aware of anything you may need in order for the installation to run smoothly.
For any other information on how smart meters are installed, visit our smart meter installation page.
The Priority Services Register
It may also be a good idea to get the person you care for on the Priority Services Register (PSR).
The PSR is a free and voluntary system that means the most vulnerable customers get the right support from energy suppliers. That might include advance notice of any planned service interruptions or priority in a power cut.
If you think being on the PSR would help the person you support, contact their energy supplier to find out more.
Accessible in-home displays
Some energy suppliers also offer an accessible version of the in-home display, sometimes called an AIHD. The AIHD has features that may help you or the person you care for. For example, they have larger buttons and can read information out loud.
Please note: Eligibility may vary.
For more information on AIHDs, visit our accessible in-home display page.
Want to find out more?
- How smart meters are helping people manage what they spend on energy - Read these smart meter reviews and see how people are using their smart meters.
- How smart meters could transform health and social care - In the future, smart meter data could be used to help provide better care for those who need it. For example, those with dementia. With the consent of the householder of course.
- The accessible in-home display - If you are blind, partially sighted, or have difficulties with dexterity or memory loss, an accessible in-home display (or AIHD) could make tracking your energy usage easier.