Smart meters are a new type of meter for gas and electricity which will be offered to all British households over the next few years. Smart meters send meter readings directly to your energy supplier and will enable a range of new services like displays that show you exactly how much energy you’re using and the cost of that energy.
Suppliers are rolling out smart meters at different rates
All consumers should be offered a smart meter by their supplier by 2020.
Smart meters are optional. While energy suppliers are obliged to offer smart meters to everyone by 2020 you don’t have to accept one if you don’t want one. In the future, smart meters will be the only option available to replace old meters. However, you’ll still be able to request that your supplier not make use of the smart meter functionality, meaning that it will act like a standard meter.
The cost of the smart meter roll-out will be covered through everyone’s energy bill. You should not have to cover the cost of installation personally.
Smart meters can be either credit meters or prepayment meters. You can move between credit and prepayment mode with smart meters. This means prepayment tariffs should be cheaper in the future. You will also be able to top up your smart meter (in prepayment mode) with new methods, including online, through an app or on the phone, in addition to current top up methods.
You can decide how often energy usage information is shared via your smart meter to your energy supplier. By default, your supplier will be allowed to collect one meter reading per day however you will also be able to choose to share as little as one meter reading a month. Your energy supplier isn’t allowed to use your smart meter data for marketing purposes unless you give them permission.