Most UK homeowners are constantly looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient. As bills continue to rise, every saving is worth making – no matter how minor it may first appear.
Smart meters are the next generation of energy meter, and they can help you to save money on your bills. While you’re waiting for installation, you could opt to buy an energy meter to achieve similar results.
What Is a Smart Meter?
As the name suggests, a smart meter intelligently monitors your usage and reports real time information on a built-in screen. You can see the actual cost, right down to the penny, and the meter reports data back to the energy company.
Smart meters aren’t just efficient. They can be read remotely, and your bills will always exactly match your usage. When you have your meters replaced, one smart meter will do the job of both your gas and electricity meter.
You can have a smart meter regardless of supplier, and you can switch suppliers after the meter is installed. If you prepay, your smart meter will support this.
Meters in Detail
Some energy companies fit smart meters when you switch to them; some have targets to install smart meters for all customers within the next six years.
- EDF will provide smart meters providing cost per hour, past and present usage and energy saving tips right on the display.
- British Gas has already installed more than 1 million smart meters and is focusing on replacing credit meters in houses (not flats).
- E.On has supplied its attractive Chameleon smart meter to more than 280,000 customers.
- Scottish Power’s smart meter has an associated app that displays the same information as the meter display.
- nPower says it started fitting smart meters in 2013 and will start its main rollout in 2015.
- Southern Electric’s Smart Energy Monitor isn’t as attractive as some other suppliers but has the same basic functionality.
Home customers will always get smart meters free of charge, but small businesses may have to pay for them. The installers will not be allowed to sell you anything (such as a switch to a different tariff) and you don’t have to have one installed.
In the Meantime… Energy Monitors
If you want to get ahead now, consider an energy monitor. Energy monitors clip onto a wire to report usage in real time. They do the same thing as smart meters but are less accurate (and can’t report data back to your supplier).
Energy monitors can be purchased from £10 for a basic plug-in model, £25 to £50 for a wireless monitor and over £50 for a monitor with software that runs on your PC. The software builds graphs of your usage – a handy feature if you can justify the cost.
If you’re interested in buying an energy monitor, ask MD Bespoke Solutions for advice. Our technicians install smart technology into customers’ homes every week, and we can help you to choose an affordable monitor that could help you to slash your energy bills – at least until your smart meter is installed.