Utilities

Smart Meters

Over the last few months most of you should have received a letter from your energy supplier concerning smart meters. If you haven’t or are still unsure of what they are I’ve put together a fact sheet to help.

What are they?

Smart meters have an important role to play in managing the UK's future energy usage by allowing consumers to control and manage their electricity consumption. Far from imposing additional burdens on bill payers, smart meters will give consumers more control over their energy use. They will mean an end to estimated energy bills and will make it easier to switch suppliers. Around 3m British households currently have a smart meter.

These are devices send your gas usage directly to your supplier meaning you no longer have to give a reading to them as they’ll be able to access the meters themselves. This means no more estimated bills so you’ll only pay for what you use.

The most noticeable change for most people will be a smart meter monitor. This is a device linked to your smart meter which gives you a real time indication of your energy costs. The meter looks like a large smartphone or tablet which you can have on display in your house. This will show you your energy usage in pounds and pence. You should also be able to see your usage online or, depending on your supplier, an app. This should hopefully make people more aware of their energy usage and ways to improve it. This could either be through using less energy or buying more efficient products.   

Installation:

The installation process entails arranging a convenient time to fit a customer’s meter and there is no charge for the installation.  Specially trained installers talk through how it works and answer any questions.  Disruption is minimal - customers just need to be at home during the fitting. 

Other concerns:

Robust safeguards are in place for consumers who use smart meters. The privacy of users will be protected. This is something that government takes extremely seriously and consumers will have a choice about how their energy consumption data is used, apart from where it is required for billing.

Smart meters are also covered by product safety legislation, which requires manufacturers to ensure that any product placed on the market is safe. I am assured that the technology has undergone extensive safety testing, and there should be no reason for alarm at placing them in people's homes.

Links to providers' websites can be found here:

EDF: https://www.edfenergy.com/for-home/energy-efficiency/smart-meters

EON: https://www.eonenergy.com/for-your-home/smart-meters

Scottish Power: https://www.scottishpower.co.uk/energy-efficiency/smart-meters/

Npower: https://www.npower.com/home/help-and-support/types-of-meter/smart-meters/

SSE: https://www.sse.co.uk/help/energy/meters/smart-meters#item1

British Gas: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/smarter-living/control-energy/smart-meters.html

You can also find the Smart Meter code of practice here

Power Cuts

A new three digit number is launching for power cuts, which may be of interest to you.

A new national phone number “105” will be launched by electricity network operators for customers to call should they need to report or get information about a power cut in their area. 

Key points to note about this service are:

  • Dialling 105 will put customers through to their local electricity network operator – the company that manages the cables, power lines and substations that deliver electricity into homes and businesses in their area.

  • 105 is just one of the ways that customers can contact their electricity network operator. They can also contact them by existing 0800 numbers or via their website, and most network operators are on social media too

  • 105 is a free service for people in England, Scotland and Wales.

  • Customers can call 105 no matter who they choose to buy electricity from.

  • Customers can also call 105 if they spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put anyone in danger. If there’s a serious immediate risk, they should call the emergency services too.