What’s one of the most frustrating things about owning or renting your own home? The chances are that you’ll reel off a long list of things that wind you up ranging from messy bedrooms to having to do your own ironing and sorting out home insurance; but utility bills are one of the nation’s bugbears.
Electricity and gas bills have gone through the roof in recent years and while switching provider may help to reduce the cost, they’re still fairly hefty for many of us. In order to combat this issue the government and a number of the UK’s leading energy providers have come together and committed to fitting smart meters in homes that encourage home owners to be more energy efficient to protect the environment and to reduce their monthly utility bills in the process.
The initiative is being offered to home owners all over the UK who are under no obligation to take up the new smart meter which will replace the traditional energy meter that needs to be read by trained technicians; although the aim is for every home in Britain to have been offered an upgrade by 2020.
What is a smart meter and how does it work?
A smart meter is a small digital device designed to provide home owners with a clear and accurate energy reading. This data is displayed on the screen and is relayed to the energy providers to ensure that home owners receive bills that reflect their energy usage.
Each device, which is somewhere between a sat nav and a tablet computer in size depending on which one you choose, provides a visual representation of how much gas and electricity is being used in the home both at that moment in time and over the course of the day.
Its overall purpose is to provide the same function as your existing energy meter which may be located in a cupboard inside your property, in a communal room in a block of flats or even outside your property in some cases.
This is fast becoming an outdated way to measure energy usage and has often involved estimating how much energy is being used. It can even require somebody to come out to your home to take a reading before you can get an accurate bill which isn’t ideal.
Once it is fitted your smart meter can be paired with a whole range of different smart home products and systems giving you complete control over the amount of power used in and around your property.
Smart homes are very much the “in thing” right now with people investing in smart lighting that they can adjust depending on the time, mood and occasion through to smart security systems that they can programme and monitor while at work or on holiday.
What happens if I want to switch my energy supplier?
Once you’ve had your smart meter fitted you are still within your rights to swap supplier at any point. While the smart energy meter may be supplied by the utility company, you can change to a different supplier if – for example – they offer you a cheaper package.
The best thing is that changing is much easier and much more clear-cut with a smart meter as you have an accurate understanding of exactly how much energy you are using and how much it is costing. Therefore, if you can find a supplier that offers you “the cheapest rate in the UK” you will be able to tell if this is or is not true before you switch thanks to the display in your home.
How do you read a smart meter?
Smart energy meters are incredibly easy to read, meaning that home owners have complete clarity over not only the amount of energy they are using at that very moment; but also how much it is costing them in pounds and pence.
Depending on your energy supplier and the device you receive you’ll have a different display, but essentially you are provided with a digital display showing you how much energy you are using at the time, over the course of the day, and how much it is costing you.
The visuals are often in full colour which means that you can make adjustments before they reach a certain point on the display, (your budget).
So, why should I install a smart meter?
We’ve explained what a smart meter is and how it works, we’ve also covered what it enables you to do, but if you still need any convincing on why you should take your energy provider up on their offer to provide you with a brand new smart energy meter here are five reasons to install one in your home today:
- Accurate meter readings for accurate billing – no need for estimates or meter readings. You can budget for the month ahead and make instant adjustments as and when required.
- Make instant changes to cut costs. The clear, concise on-screen display gives real-time data that you can analyse and act upon before the bill comes.
- Complete control over the gas and electricity in your home, and how it is used. If you’re spending too much or using too much you can identify how and where in the home before turning devices off or switching providers.
- Compatible with Android and iOS apps – control the system even when you’re out. Leaving appliances or devices on when you’re out can cost money (and can be disastrous). Monitor your property using a smart phone app and turn lights, appliances and systems on or off with a tap on the screen.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by changing your behaviours. Not only do you save money by making savings, you also do your bit to protect the environment.
To browse the complete range of smart energy meters and smart home products, visit BT Shop today.