HOW A SMART METER COULD BENEFIT YOU, AND THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR
Caring for others is an important job. Whether you are a formal carer for a person in need, or help out a family member or neighbour when they need it. We know caring for someone can be busy; there's always lots to think about. But submitting meter readings and not knowing how much you're paying for energy don’t need to add extra 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?
- How can you request a smart meter for the person you care for?
- How does a smart meter make things easier?
- Why should you request a smart meter for the person you care for?
- Do smart meters save you money?
- What will happen during the installation?
- The Priority Services Register (PSR)
- Could an accessible in-home display help you, or the person you care for?
- Request your smart meter
- Who we're working with
- Find out more...
WHAT IS A SMART METER?
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. Energy suppliers are installing these in homes across Great Britain, to replace older meters.
Smart meters come with an in-home display. The in-home display is sometimes called an IHD. It shows how much energy a household is using and how much it costs.
HOW CAN YOU REQUEST A SMART METER FOR THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR?
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.
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:
If you would prefer to call, you can find some energy supplier’s free-phone and textphone numbers here.
If you need more information, there’s more on the Carers UK website, including carers’ tips on using services or arranging a power of attorney.
HOW DOES A SMART METER MAKE THINGS EASIER?
Right now, many of us are worried about higher energy bills. And when you’re caring for someone, you might have their bill to think about too. A smart meter could help.
Smart meters could help make managing your energy bills easier! This is because they provide accurate billing, so you only pay for what you use. On top of that, with a smart meter you'll benefit from automatic meter readings. So, you'll spend less time 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, by helping them manage their energy bills. It also takes meter readings off your list, giving you the time for the things that really matter.
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.
WHY SHOULD YOU REQUEST A SMART METER FOR THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR?
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.
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
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.
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 one for the person you care for without worrying about connectivity.
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!
WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE INSTALLATION?
Smart meters are installed by gas and electricity suppliers. They replace your old energy meters, and do it all safely and securely. There is no extra cost to the customer. Here’s how it works:
- Contact your energy supplier to arrange a time and date for the smart meter to be installed.
In most cases, you can make the appointment for the person you support, but the supplier may ask some security questions.
You can make sure it’s a time when you can be there too. The supplier should check if the customer – the person you care for – has any specific needs, like needing a carer to be there.
- The person installing the meter will turn up at the arranged time and show you, or the person you care for, their ID. If they don’t show you ID, you can ask to see it.
- They will disconnect the existing meter and replace it with a smart meter.
- Once the smart meter is working, the person installing the meter should show you and the person you care for how to use the in-home display.
Some homes can’t get a smart meter yet but will be able to get one before the end of the rollout. The energy supplier can tell you if the person you care for can have one. They can also tell you how soon it can be installed.
It is important to remember:
- Someone will need to be at home when the smart meters are installed. It can be you, the person you support, or both.
- If you, as a carer, have informed the supplier that you need to be present when the smart meter is installed, and for any reason you’re not there, the supplier must not install the smart meter.
- If the gas and electricity meters are being replaced at the same time, it will take around two hours. If it’s just one meter, it could be quicker.
- The energy supply will be turned off for a short time while the smart meter is being installed. If the person you care for needs energy to help them with a health condition, please let the energy supplier know when you arrange the appointment.
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.
Once someone is on the PSR, they may also be able to request large-format or braille bills, or ask for account statements or bills to be sent to you, instead of – or at the same time as – them.
If you think being on the PSR would help the person you support, contact their energy supplier to find out more.
COULD AN ACCESSIBLE IN-HOME DISPLAY HELP YOU, OR THE PERSON YOU CARE FOR?
Some energy suppliers also offer an accessible version of the in-home display, sometimes called an AIHD. The AIHD has been developed in partnerships with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
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.
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.
An AIHD could be helpful if you, or the person you support are blind or partially sighted, have difficulties using your hands or wrists, or have difficulties with memory loss.
Watch how the AIHD has helped Paralympian Marc, who is registered blind, take control of his energy consumption.
Please note: Eligibility may vary.
REQUEST YOUR SMART METER
If you're ready to request your smart meter, or to request a smart meter for the person you care for, you can click the link below to begin the process.
And if you want to find out more about getting an accessible in-home display, you can contact them there. Eligibility may vary.
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 to help 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 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.
- 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 explain the different ways smart meters can benefit you.