A simples guide

Can I save money by getting a smart meter?

So called smart meters are coming to your home soon! That’s because every home in Britain will have a new smart meter installed by their energy provider by 2020. That’s 53 million of them!

All well and good, we hear you say, but what’s a smart meter?

What’s a smart meter?

A smart meter is a new generation of meter that will replace your existing electricity and gas meters. Yes, those ones, where the numbers slowly click onwards, telling you how much of each energy type you’ve used.

The new smart meter will still do the job of measuring your energy use too, but cleverly they’ll now wirelessly transmit that data to your energy company.

That means no more knocks on the door to read your meters, requests by post or email for manual readings or in the absence of other readings, estimated bills.

You can see the benefit to that probably straight away. In addition, you’ll get a monitor for inside your house which will show you how much energy you’re actually using at any given time. The idea here is that armed with this information in real-time, we’ll all be able to make better decisions about lowering our energy usage and save ourselves money in the process.

There’s a potential longer term benefit too. As these meters are much more sophisticated, there’s the potential opportunity to work out how much energy you’re using at different times of day and night. This gives the potential to have dual tariffs, which would involve paying cheaper rates off peak in the future.

Will it cost anything?

In theory no, the meters will be fitted free of charge to each household. So, why do we say in theory? Well, it’s estimated that rolling out the meters to those 53 million homes will cost around £11 billion. That’s around £200 for every home.

We don’t want to be cynical but while they might be free of charge, there’s nothing stopping the energy companies recouping the costs somehow!

Can I save money by getting a smart meter?

Will having a smart meter save me money?

For the most part, that depends on you. While there’s unlikely to be any sort of saving just because you have a smart meter installed, it is hoped that by having smart meters (and importantly monitors) in each home, consumers will become much savvier about the amount of energy they’re consuming.

It’s estimated that consumers will collectively save £4.3 billion through energy savings in the home. That sounds like a huge amount but translates to about 2% on gas bills and 2.8% on electricity bills. That would save the average household about £27 per year if they used both energy types.

So, whether you benefit will depend on how vigorously you act on what your monitor tells you. Now turn that light off!

How do I get one?

Some companies including British Gas, Eon, First Utility and Ovo have already started installing smart meters. Others will be obliged to start soon in order to meet the timetabled roll-out to 2020.

Start comparing energy today and tell us if you have a smart meter – just see how much you could save!