Smart Meters: What Are They and How To Get One

smart meters what are they and how to get one

Smart meters measure and show your real-time energy and electricity use in the home, as well as how much it is costing you. Additionally, your smart meter will automatically send the information over to your supplier, cutting out the need to read your gas and electricity meters. This is where smart meters differ from energy monitors as whilst energy monitors can show your usage, they don’t communicate that to your provider.

The main benefit of a smart meter it will display real-time energy usage on your In-Home Display (IHD). This means you will be better able to control your energy and electricity use, potentially reducing your carbon footprint. This also cuts out estimated bills, meaning you only pay for what your use.

An example of an In-Home Display (IHD)

Nevertheless, there are some concerns around the costs of smart meters. Everyone is paying for the smart meter roll-out through their energy bills, the cost of which is estimated at £11bn. Energy companies are meant to pass on cost savings to customers but there are concerns about the extent to which they will do this.

Different Types of Smart Meters

There are currently two different types of smart meters:

  • SMETS1 which are first generation and make up about 18 million of the smart meters installed in the UK. When you switch energy supplier it most likely won’t pick up the communication and your meter will go ‘dumb’.
  • SMETS2 which are second generation and make up about 5 million of smart meters in the UK. Meters installed over the last year are likely to be SMETS2. If you switch to a new supplier they will be able to see your usage and meter readings, and your in-home display should show your usage with the new supplier’s costs. British Gas, E.on, EDF, SSE and Npower have all confirmed they’re only installing SMETS 2 meters now.
smart meter reading
A reading on the smart meter itself rather than the In-Home Display (IHD)

How to Get a One

To get a smart meter, check out whether they are available in your area with the below suppliers. If they are not, you could consider switching using TechRadar’s comparison tool and look for companies that install smart meters.

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