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Smart Meters… Swot Up with Everything You Need to Know

Smart Meters… Swot Up with Everything You Need to Know

With the recent bad press that surrounds smart meters, we’ve got the facts. Read on to learn all there is to know about the green meters.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are devices that take gas and electricity readings in real-time which enables users to monitor their usage. This encourages them to manage and lower their consumption and ultimately reduces overall energy bills.

The electronic device automatically sends meter readings via a mobile signal to your provider as frequently as every half an hour to make sure you only pay for what you use. This enables billing to be more accurate as consumers are only charged for the energy they use.

You’ll receive a small display screen to show how much energy you are using in pounds and pence, and your old meter will be removed, reused or recycled.

Why are smart meters being rolled out?

The UK government says smart meters will encourage households to cut their energy consumption, reducing their bills and carbon emissions, though the scale of the reduction ranges from 3% to 15%.

Smart meters are part of a bigger idea to make the market more efficient and balance the amount of energy supplied with what is being consumed.

When must smart meters be installed by?

In 2011, the initial plan was for a smart meter to be installed in every home in England, Scotland and Wales by 2020, which would see 50 million smart meters fitted in 30 million homes and smaller commercial sites. But by March 2019, only 14.3 million smart meters had been installed.

Deadlines have shifted, and the proposal then changed for energy firms to instead ‘offer’ new smart meters by the 2020 deadline. This is said to give energy suppliers the opportunity to fix technical problems and allow a more streamlined process for customers.

Ministers have now proposed that energy companies have until 2024 to ensure that at least 85% of customers have a smart device installed – although experts predict they may need an additional 10 years to complete the rollout.

A slower and more manageable rollout process will benefit both the customer and the industry itself. Eventually, the majority of UK homes will end up with a smart meter, as they are a stepping stone in helping to improve energy efficiency.

What are the benefits of a smart meter?

Spend more time managing your business rather than energy use

A smart meter means an end to estimated energy consumption and regular manual readings. Energy usage is automatically sent via a wireless connection in ‘real-time’ to provide an accurate reflection of the energy used. So no messing about.

No messing about with accurate billing

Having continuous access to accurate, up-to-date readings enables you to track exactly how much energy you’re using, allowing you to adjust your habits accordingly and in turn reduce your bills. That way, you can start integrating more accurate data into your business plan.

You’re in safe hands

Smart meters are completely safe and secure. Your energy data is sent using a dedicated wireless network so you can control how often your supplier receives your data.

Prepayment meter users could also receive additional automatic options to top-up their credit to make sure supply is not cut off.

Plain and simple

Smart meters are easy to read with a digital display that allows you to easily keep a track of your energy gobbling behaviours. Some providers even provide an app so you can check your energy use while out and about.

Say hello to reduced energy consumption

According to Smart Energy surveys, over 85% of people with a smart meter installed reduce their energy consumption through changing their behaviours. Encouraging a shift in demand to off-peak times with cheaper tariffs and discounts, such as during the weekends and tailored packages will enable suppliers to predict energy usage, cut down on waste and increase efficiency. It’s no wonder the government is actively encouraging their use.

What are the disadvantages of a smart meter?

While the second generation of smart meters is flexible and provided by a network of multiple suppliers, not all energy companies are fitting the new designs yet, with a number of suppliers in the North still fitting first generation meters. This can make it tricky to switch provider. When enquiring about a new smart meter, be sure to check that you’re getting the newer models.

Is a smart meter compulsory?

No, you can decline to have one fitted, it’s completely your decision, but it could help you save on your business and home energy bills. Energy providers are under huge pressure to meet tight deadlines to avoid hefty fines, and must have offered them to all UK households by the end of the 2024 deadline.

Will a smart meter lower my bills?

Smart meters can certainly help you save money, but they can’t cut your bills alone. The idea is that homeowners can see where they are using power and therefore take steps to reduce consumption which results in reduced bills. Smart meters make it much easier for you to take full control of your energy use as you won’t have to worry about overestimated bills.

The Department of Business, Energy and Strategy estimates households will save £36 a year by 2034.

Can everyone get a smart meter?

It’s estimated that one third of homes can’t have a smart meter fitted if they live in a rural area or in high-rise properties with thick walls as the signal is not strong enough. To find out if you’re eligible call us today on 0330 123 2255 and we’ll be able to help.

Is my data safe with a smart meter?

Yes, completely. Your energy data is sent directly to your provider using a secure wireless network which reduces the risk of a meter hack. The Data Communications Company is the infrastructure that handles your data and is Ofgem regulated. What’s more, all of our smart meters adhere to strict UK and EU product safety laws and have endured the strictest safety testing regimes.

Can a smart meter be installed outside?

Your new smart meter will be installed in the same place as your old meter so it needs to be easily accessible.

Are smart meters dangerous to health?

Public Health England issued a statement to confirm they see no health risks from smart meters. The exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well within the guideline limits and is actually less than your mobile phone and WiFi.

It’s time to smarten up

Say goodbye to unexpected high bills and hello to a greener future for everyone. Call Crown Energy on 0330 123 2255 to find out how we can help.

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