What are Smart Meters and Why Do We Need Them?

smart metersThere are a whole host of products on the market that claim to help you cut your energy bills, and make your home more energy efficient. But because there are so many products doing similar jobs confusion is rife amongst the public.

Smart meters are one such product responsible for this confusion.

This ‘next generation’ monitor differs from traditional energy monitors, but many consumers are still getting these products confused. Here we take a look at what exactly smart meters are, and why you should be using them in your home:

What are smart meters?

Smart meters are a replacement for your current meter, and measure your exact gas and electricity use. The thing that makes them so ‘smart’ though is that they compile all this information, and send it back to your energy supplier. This means you will always get accurate bills, not estimates.

These meters offer a whole host of additional possibilities to help you make sure you’re always on the right energy tariff. These meters can show your supplier peak times for energy use, and help improve ‘time-of-day’ tariffs. If you have solar panels or home wind turbines, smart meters can also make it easier to sell the electricity generated to the National Grid.

You can find out more about how they work on the GOV.UK website.

How do they differ from regular meters?

As you know, your current meter has to be read manually at regular intervals. Smart meters automatically send the information to your energy supplier, meaning no need to submit your own readings or wait for a reader to arrive.

Another key difference between these and your current meter is the way they display your household usage. Standard energy meters display the amount of gas and electricity you use on the meter itself. Smart meters come with an in-home display that provides much more comprehensive information such as accurate and up-to-date usage information, and how much this is costing you roughly.

In short then; standard meters tell you how much energy you have used in all. A smart meter monitors both your usage and a breakdown of when you used it. This will help you identify which products use the most energy, and where you could take steps to reduce your energy usage.

How can you get a smart meter?

The UK government announced a project to install smart meters into more than 30 million homes.

The scheme was set for roll-out in the summer of 2014, but has now been delayed until the autumn of 2015. When the scheme does eventually begin, your energy company will contact you about installation. Unlike other energy meters, you can’t just go out and purchase a smart meter; they have to be installed by your energy provider.

The time it takes to install a smart meter will differ from property to property, and will also include an audit of your home’s energy efficiency. This will help highlight areas where you can make improvements to help slash your bills and do your bit for the planet.

Hopefully then, this will have helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding smart meters. It is hoped that these devices will help millions of UK homeowners to take steps to lower their energy usage, as well as save money in the long term.

Auriga Services are an organisation offering charitable trust management, helping businesses support their customers when they struggle to pay bills. Visit their website for more information: www.aurigaservices.co.uk


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