HOW A SMART METER COULD BENEFIT YOU, AND THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR
Whether you have a formal caring relationship for a person in need, or just help out a family member or neighbour when they need it, you're doing an important job. We know caring for someone can be busy, and there's always lots to think about - but submitting meter readings and worrying about energy bills don’t need to add additional stress.
Read on to find out how a smart meter can make life easier, and give the person you care for more independence at home.
- What is a smart meter?
- Are smart meters available for prepay customers?
- How does a smart meter make things easier?
- Elsa's story: a case study
- Why should you request a smart meter for the person you care for
- So, smart meters save you money?
- The Priority Services Register (PSR)
- Could an accessible in-home display help you, or the person you care for?
- Can you request a smart meter for the person you care for?
- What will happen during the installation?
- Carers UK partnership
- Find out more...
WHAT IS A SMART METER?
Read on to find out how a smart meter can make life easier, and give the person you care for more independence at home:
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They’re being installed in homes across Great Britain at no extra cost, to replace traditional analogue meters. They measure how much gas and electricity your household uses, as well as what it’s costing and display this on a handy in-home display (IHD).
Both the in-home display and the smart meter operate without the need to be connected to the internet. They use a secure communication system. This means your energy usage data is only visible to your energy supplier and authorised parties that you’ve given consent for this to be shared with.
ARE SMART METERS AVAILABLE FOR PREPAY CUSTOMERS?
Yes! Smart meters are set up to work, whether you use prepay or credit. A smart meter in prepay mode even allows you to top up whenever it suits; online, via mobile or at the shop – meaning no more last-minute trips down the shop in the rain when the meter runs out! That means the person you care for can have more independence in topping up their prepay meter themselves.
HOW DOES A SMART METER MAKE THINGS EASIER?
We all want to work smarter, not harder. Smart meters could help make managing your energy bills easier by providing automated meter readings and accurate billing – meaning you only pay for what you use. On top of that, automatic meter readings could mean less worrying about forgetting to send in readings every month. With a smart meter, you can rest assured that the people who depend on you aren’t left in the dark.
Smart meters are a great way of giving the person you care for back some of their independence in managing their energy bills. It also takes meter readings off your list, giving you the time for the things that really matter.
Elsa helped her dad get a smart meter six months ago because she heard they help you manage your energy bills. They haven't looked back, less admin means more time to spend doing the important things with the person you care for. For Elsa and her dad that means more time gardening together at the allotment.
After I helped my dad get a smart meter, we were able to spend more time doing the things that he loves.
And what he really lives is going to the allotment.
He's able to now teach me how to grow things. A lot of it is weeds but...
WHY SHOULD YOU REQUEST A SMART METER FOR THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR?
Smart meters enable accurate billing – meaning the person you care for only needs to pay for the energy they actually use. So, no more calls to the energy supplier about unexpected bills.
Automatic meter readings
Smart meters send gas and electricity meter readings directly to a secure network (the DCC), who pass them onto your energy supplier, meaning no need to take meter readings from the back of a dusty cupboard! That’s one thing off the list.
Helping keep track of energy spending
The in-home display shows you in near-real time the amount of energy being used in pounds and pence, making it easier to keep an eye on energy spending habits and make small changes that translate into big savings.
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.
SO, DO SMART METERS SAVE YOU MONEY?
It's great learning about modern technologies, like smart meters. But how could getting a smart meter help you save money?
Just having a smart meter installed doesn't automatically save money. But the handy IHD that came with your smart meter helps you keep on top of household costs – it can show what your energy use is costing in near-real time, so you know how much electricity or gas you’ve used. . It's helping keep costs down – some people even save £10-£20 a month this way.
These smart meters are so smart, they're not just helping people save money – they're helping Britain build a modern, flexible energy system. With this upgraded system, the nation could save £8 billion a year – now that's smart.
THE PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER
The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free service that some energy suppliers use to make sure the correct support is given to customers who need it. This support varies by supplier, and by what an individual needs, but can include:
- Large-format or Braille bills
- Advanced notice of service interruption
- Priority restoration of service in the event of a power cut
- Nominee scheme: customers can ask for communications (for example account statements or bills) to be sent to someone who has been nominated to receive them, for instance a carer
Customers who would benefit from the support offered by the Priority Services Register should contact their energy supplier directly to find out if they are eligible.
COULD AN ACCESSIBLE IN-HOME DISPLAY HELP YOU, OR THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR?
For anyone who is blind, partially sighted, or has difficulties with dexterity or memory loss, an accessible in-home display (AHID) could make tracking energy usage easier. The AIHD has been developed in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and includes features such as large buttons and text-to-speech functionality.
Watch how the AIHD has helped Paralympian Marc, who is registered blind, take control of his energy consumption:
I’m Marc, I am 31 and I live in Royston.
I am registered blind and I formally represented my country at London 2012, in the sport of Judo.
So getting a smart meter installed was incredibly easy. I definitely feel a lot more in control of my energy consumption. And I also, you know, want to do my bit to look after the planet at the same time. And no longer I have to provide any kind of information to my supplier. It’s all done through the smart meter network.
So for me the accessible in-home display is great because along with it being high contrast, the in-home display actually speaks to me too. So it means that all the information that’s on screen is relayed to me in a way that I can access it.
So I would absolutely recommend for anybody to get yourself a smart meter. I could imagine this benefitting so many other people in different situations
Please note: Eligibility of smart meters and the AIHD may vary; Consumer action required to obtain cost savings and budgeting benefits of smart meters.
HOW CAN YOU REQUEST A SMART METER FOR THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR?
Have a chat with the person you care for to make sure they understand the benefits of a smart meter, and how it can help them manage their bills. If they’re happy to get a smart meter installed, then you can begin the process.
Carers are typically able to make smart meter appointments on behalf of the individuals they care for. Suppliers will ask a number of security questions when arranging the appointment, so it will be useful to liaise with the person that you care for to have this information to hand.
Carers looking to act as a named third party should contact the supplier to see how they can be added to the account.
Start entering their supplier’s name below to begin the process:
WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE INSTALLATION?
All suppliers have different installation booking processes. You will need to follow the individual’s suppliers standard booking processes – this information can be found on the suppliers’ website, or by calling the supplier directly.
Read on to see the general process to get a smart meter for the person you care for:
- Agree to a time slot and date with the supplier. An installer will never turn up unexpectedly.
- Make sure you know where the current meters are and take steps to ensure they’re accessible for the installer.
- The installer should present a valid identity card upon arrival, which you can ask to see if the installer does not present it upfront.
- It takes around one hour for an electricity meter, and around one hour for a gas meter. The energy supply will be cut off for a short period, but you and/or the person you support will need to be present for the installation. If the person you care for has a health condition reliant on energy supply rest assured, this will be addressed during the appointment booking.
- If a gas meter is being installed, the installer will perform a visual safety check on the gas appliances they are made aware of.
- You may be offered an in-home display that shows your spending in near-real time for no additional cost.
- Once fitted, the installer should show you and the person you support how to use the in-home display and offer energy-saving advice.
We are proud to be partnering with Carers UK, the UK’s only national membership charity for carers. The partnership will raise awareness of smart meter amongst unpaid carers in Great Britain.
Previous research published by Carers UK shows unpaid carers find it challenging helping to manage their loved one’s affairs on top of many hours of physical and emotional support. Smart meters have the potential to make life easier for time-pressed family members and friends caring for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?
- How smart meters are helping people save money - Read these smart meter reviews and see how people are using their smart meters to save money and budget more easily.
- How smart meters could transform health and social care - In just a few years, with the consent of the householder, data from smart meters could be used to help provide better care for people with conditions such as dementia, by making it easier for them to live in their own homes for longer.
- Smart Energy Explained - New research reveals that people living with a long-term disability, on low incomes or in later life say having a smart meter has made their lives easier. So, we've worked with Ade Adepitan MBE to highlight the different ways smart meters can benefit you.