Should You Get a Smart Meter?

The UK Government has made a target of offering every home in the country a Smart Meter by 2020 and although the scheme is currently optional, over 10 million homes have now been fitted with one. The Smart Meters replace analogue gas and electricity meters that we’ve had in our homes previously.

Opinions are divided on Smart Meters but we decided to look at the pros and cons so you can decide if it is the best option for your home.

What is a Smart Meter?

This is a device that records the usage of gas and electricity in your home just as an analogue meter does. The difference is that it is linked to your energy provider via the internet – it shares data directly with them. You also get more detailed usage data via the display unit in your home, so you can see what you are spending on a daily basis.

What are the benefits?

  • No more meter readings – Data is transmitted from your home to the utility company so that there is no need for a visit to your home.
  • Your bills are more accurate – Your bills are now based on real-time data, rather than estimates so no more under or overcharging.
  • Manage your usage better – Because you can see how much energy you are using per day, you can modify your usage – make sure the lights are turned off, only use the washing machine when it’s a full load etc.… When you are more efficient, you’ll pay less.
  • Easier for managing a prepaid meter – You can see when you’re running low on credit and manage your usage.
  • Smart Meters are free to install – however to recoup the costs energy providers are adding to bills, so even if you don’t have one, you are paying for one.

What are the downsides to Smart Meters?

  • Once you have one you can’t go back to an analogue meter – There’s no going back to an old style meter so you need to make the decision that suits you.
  • Your data is being shared –  The data collected by your provider allows them to form a detailed picture of your energy use. This isn’t comfortable to some people as they are concerned they may be targeted with advertising.
  • You can reduce your bills but only if you know how to interpret the data – It’s up to you to figure out where you’re using most energy and how you want to reduce it. If you don’t bother, or can’t then it won’t really affect you.
  • Smart Meters are still new technology – There have been some reports about poor installation due to lack of experience. Also, as technology changes, they will need to be upgraded.
  • Most smart meters are not transferrable between energy providers – If you change providers, then you’ll still see the data recorded but your supplier won’t, so you’ll need to provide meter readings.

Is a Smart Meter the right choice for you?

Based on the pros and cons, you really have to decide for yourself. Smart Meters definitely give you more control over your central heating and energy bills but do you need that at the expense of your privacy?

Qualified Gas Engineers

If you’d like to know more about Smart Meters or want to speak to one of our gas or heating engineers simply give us a call on 020 8434 3644 or visit our website for more information on our services.

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