The UK government has commissioned energy companies to install smart meters for their customers by 2019. But what happens if a customer doesnt actually want one?
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters provide businesses and household with a digital way to measure gas and electricity readings, which are sent directly to energy suppliers.
The benefits of having a smart meter
Whether or not its compulsory to have a smart meter installed, there are several benefits associated with this digital technology.
●Because a smart meter takes accurate readings, this means to your energy bills will be more accurate too.
●You wont need to take manual energy readings.
●Having accurate energy consumption data on hand allows you to take control of your energy use and improve your energy efficiency and strategic energy management.
●With the meters display feature, youll have access to real-time updates, aware of how much energy youre using and when youre using it.
Did you know? The Carbon Trust estimates that the average business wastes 20% of the energy it buys.
The installation of smart meters in homes and businesses leads to a smarter market in general, arming consumers with the knowledge to switch suppliers and find the energy contract most suited to their individual needs. In addition, energy suppliers will have more accurate data about the energy ecosystem as a whole, allowing them to meet energy supply and demands better.
Benefits aside, many businesses and households are asking: is it compulsory to have a smart meter installed?
Why wouldnt you want a smart meter installed?
Those asking whether its compulsory to have a smart meter installed may have some reservations about smart meter rollout
●Smart meters can be hacked – your smart meter is required to meet strict Government security standards, but, as with any technology, its important to remain vigilant.
●It will cost more money – although you may see a slight increase in your energy bills to compensate for the rollout of this new technology, there are no upfront costs for smart meter installation.
●Installing the meter will cause downtime – energy suppliers will generally install meters during working hours, but some are willing to be flexible. The downtime associated with smart meter installation is normally around 20 minutes.
●Switching suppliers – once you have a smart meter installed by an energy company, you can still switch suppliers at a later stage if youd like to. The smart meters rolled out are interoperable, which means that all suppliers will be able to support them.
●Operate from rented premises – simply get in touch with your landlord to ask about having a smart meter installed.
Do I have to get one?
New Government requirements have commissioned energy companies to install smart meters in business premises and domestic homes by 2019 – but this is only if the household or business want a smart meter. The government requires that energy suppliers offer smart meters to all small businesses and homes, but smart meters are not a legal requirement, therefore its not compulsory to have a smart meter installed.
However, having a smart meter at your premises is likely to become the norm in years to come.
How to get a smart meter installed in 3 simple steps
1.Ask your energy supplier or your energy broker about whats on offer.
2.Once you or your broker have decided on the appropriate solution, you can arrange suitable time and date with your energy supplier to have the smart meter installed.
3.Start taking control of your energy bills!
Smart meters are a replacement for your existing gas and electricity meters. Just like a traditional meter, they measure how much energy youre using. The difference is that they remotely send the data they collect to your energy supplier, cutting out the need for manual meter readings. They can send the data to your supplier in a variety of different ways – some have a SIM card and send it by mobile networks, while others use WiFi or other mobile internet connections.