The roll-out of smart meters is continuing across the UK. By providing energy suppliers and the National Grid with accurate data about how much energy households use, they can help make our energy system more efficient.
We understand that smart meters haven’t had the best press over the years, and that some people have concerns about getting one. In this article, we want to separate fact from fiction by clearing up some misconceptions.
Myth: your smart meter will stop working if you switch supplier
The national smart meter roll-out began in 2016. People who had 1st generation SMETS1 meters installed found that they lost their smart functionality when they switched suppliers. At Good Energy, we decided not to offer smart meters to our customers until this problem was fixed.
Today, we install 2nd generation SMETS2 smart meters that are fully interoperable between energy suppliers. This means you can switch without fear that your meter will no longer send automatic readings.
If you already have a SMETS1 meter, don’t worry. Energy companies have started reconnecting them to the same secure network used by SMETS2 meters to make sure they stay smart when you move between suppliers. So, if you’re a Good Energy customer and you have a SMETS1 meter, we’ll be in touch.
Myth: there are no environmental benefits to smart meters
Like any man-made item, smart meters are not without an environmental footprint, taking energy and resources to build and install. However, they also come with benefits, from reducing the need for someone to travel to read your meter to helping households save energy and laying the foundations for a smarter, greener grid. For more information, read our blog about how smart meters can help the environment.
Myth: smart meters are connected to the internet and make your personal data easily accessible
The only information that smart meters collect is how much energy you use. As standard, they will collect this information once a day, but when you book your installation you can decide how often you’d like your usage data to be collected.
You can choose for your usage data to be collected every half hour, which provides your supplier and the national grid with a more accurate picture of energy usage throughout the day, helping them more closely match supply with demand. Or you can choose for your readings to be collected monthly instead, if you’d prefer to share your usage data less often. You can change the frequency your smart meter collects your usage data at any time by contacting us.
Your usage data is transmitted to your energy supplier via a secure closed network purpose-built for smart meters. Only you and your supplier can access your data unless you give permission for someone else to access it. Check the Smart Energy GB FAQs for more information about this.
The only information that smart meters collect is how much energy you use [...] you can change the frequency your smart meter collects your usage data at any time.
Myth: you are legally required to get a smart meter
Although the government is aiming for as many households and businesses as possible to have a smart meter installed by 2025, it is not against the law to refuse one – and no one asking you to have one installed should claim that it is.
Myth: a smart meter will make your energy bill higher
Smart meters are installed for free, and the cost won’t be passed through onto your energy bills.
Here are a few reasons why your bills might change after you’ve had one installed:
- If you’ve had a smart meter installed to replace a meter that was coming to the end of its shelf life, your old meter may not have been recording your usage accurately.
- If you didn’t submit regular meter readings before getting a smart meter, your bills would have been based on estimates. This may mean you sometimes paid more or less than you needed to. With a smart meter, your bill will accurately reflect how much energy you use.
- If you use the data from your smart meter to change how you use energy, you may find that your bills go down too.
At Good Energy, we’ll be continuing to offer customers smart meters throughout 2021. We’ll get in touch when we’re rolling out smart meters in your local area. In the meantime, you can read more about smart meters on our website.