Consumer information

Energy

Smart meters – what are they and how can I find out more?

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters with a range of additional functions. Government wants every home in Britain to have their old gas and electricity meters replaced by smart meters by 2019. Some suppliers are already rolling out the new technology and hundreds of thousands have already been installed. Smart meters have the potential to create a step change in how we monitor our energy use, our interaction with energy firms and the accuracy of energy billing.

Unlike standard meters which have to be read manually by a meter reader, smart meters can be read by the energy supplier without them having to visit your home, thanks to new two-way communications technology. This should end estimated and inaccurate bills – the biggest source of consumer complaints about energy firms. It could also mean less inconvenience waiting in for the meter reader to arrive, or having to submit your own readings.

With standard meters, the amount of gas and electricity your household uses is displayed on the meter itself. When your smart meter is installed, you may be offered an energy display. An energy display has a small screen which will give you up to date information on your gas and electricity, including how much you are using and roughly how much it is costing you in pounds and pence. By knowing what you’re using, and having an idea of which appliances use the most energy, you may be able to reduce your energy usage and save money.

Smart metering is also an important step towards modernising the energy industry and improving customer service. It should help ensure that our energy is more affordable, reliable, and as green as possible in the future.

On this page we’ve produced a short video showing what you can expect when your smart meter is installed. We’ve also put together a Frequently Asked Questions section to answer any questions that you might have on getting a smart meter.

What will happen when my smart meter is installed?

Frequently Asked Questions about smart meters

Government policy around smart metering is under development and changing quickly. This is the current situation as we understand it, as of January 2013.

FAQ – Go smart get smart (PDF, 301KB)

The FAQ are grouped under different sections, click on the links below to find out more.

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered by our FAQ, please go to the Consumer Focus Knowledge Base, where you can submit questions.