If you’re a UK resident, the chances are that you’ve either been offered a smart meter for your home by now, you already have one installed, or you will be switching to smart meters in the foreseeable future.
This big push by the government to overhaul and update the UK’s energy infrastructure has been gaining momentum, with over 21.5 million smart meters already installed across the country, as of March 2021.
Many energy suppliers are currently offering deals with lower tariffs to entice the public to make the switch. But what are the benefits of these smart meters, and are there any drawbacks?
Crown Energy is here to help. We offer a full end-to-end service; beyond utility infrastructure connection, we also plan and arrange competitively-priced smart meter connections for homes, businesses, large construction projects, and commercial premises.
Below we look at four key benefits of smart meters to help you decide in making the switch.
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are the latest energy meters being introduced to UK residences. In recent years, they’ve been replacing the prepayment and traditional or “dumb” meters currently fitted in homes.
These devices monitor and record your electricity and gas usage. They also provide accurate data on your energy usage to your energy supplier in real-time.
There are currently two types of smart meters available on the market. These are the SMETS1 and the SMETS2 smart meters. SMETS is an acronym for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification.
The first-generation smart meter, or SMETS1, was the first smart meter installed in millions of homes across the UK. These meters were initially flawed – often losing their smart functionality if/when a customer changed energy suppliers. This issue was resolved by connecting the SMETS1 to the central wireless network.
Energy companies are currently rolling out SMETS2, the second-generation smart meter. Unlike the SMETS1, these models were designed to automatically connect to the central wireless network, enabling all energy suppliers to operate them without any issues.
The easiest way to tell if your home has a SMETS1 or a SMETS2 smart meter is to look at the serial number:
- If it begins with 19P you probably have a SMETS1.
- If the serial number begins with 19M it’s more than likely to be a SMETS2 meter.
If you’re still unsure, then we recommend contacting your energy supplier directly to verify the model.
What does a smart meter look like?
Smart meters comprise two primary elements:
The meter is a smart data network connected by a wireless network connection. It sends real-time information regarding your energy usage to your energy supplier.
Smart meters come in numerous designs but typically look like standard electricity or gas meters. You should be able to scroll through a smart meter’s various displays using the provided buttons.
The meter is not to be confused with the In-home display (IHD).
In-home display (IHD)
The IHD is a tablet-like gadget that allows you to keep an eye on your energy usage and make various alterations when desired. This large-screened device is navigated using touchscreen functionality or via its buttons.
The IHD displays:
- The amount of energy you’ve used over the last hour, week, and month
- The level of your current electricity usage – low, medium, or high
- Real-time electricity usage updates
- Gas usage updates every 30 minutes
Four key benefits of smart meters
When undertaking the massive task of modernising an entire nation’s energy infrastructure, there needs to be a list of incentives to encourage the general public to get onboard.
The UK government, along with the country’s smart meter installers, have made sure to highlight the benefits of owning smart meters, to convince people to make the switch. These benefits include the following:
Track your usage and get accurate bills
As you’re able to monitor your energy usage on your IHD, this allows you to manage your energy usage more closely. At any time, you can see the amount of energy you’re using and how much this is costing you. This can assist you in reducing your energy bills, thereby saving you money.
Highlights faulty appliances
Any electrical issues in your home, including faulty electrical appliances, can be picked up by monitoring your energy usage on your IHD. You’ll know this is occurring as you’ll see excessive spikes in activity.
Better for the planet
One of the biggest reasons highlighted by government and energy suppliers alike to convince the public to install smart meters is for the planet’s wellbeing.
By encouraging the public to switch to smart meters and to purchase more energy-efficient appliances, it’s hoped that less pressure will be placed on the national electricity grid, thereby ensuring future energy security for all.
Smart Energy GB has estimated that the above will result in a 24% decrease in emissions from homes and businesses by the year 2030.
More selection of tariffs
As previously mentioned, energy suppliers are currently offering favourable tariffs to all those opting to install smart meters. These offers are exclusively available to those households embracing this change.
These special tariffs are considerably cheaper than non-smart meter options, with different suppliers providing different choices.