With energy prices set to rise in 2017, is now the time to get your gas and electricity bills under control with a smart meter? Curo money-saving-expert Sarah Rogers explains how smart meters could save you over £40 a year...
What's a smart meter?
Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters. They show you the amount of energy you consume as you use it, and how much you're spending in pounds and pence.
That means an end to estimated bills.
Between now and 2020, gas and electricity suppliers across the UK are replacing our traditional meters (even if you have a prepay meter or are in rented property) with smart meters at no extra cost. It's estimated that by 2030 the average person using a smart meter will save £43 a year - that's £6 billion in energy costs across the country.
How do smart meters work?
The smart meter system has two parts:
- The smart meter.
- An in-house display that shows how much gas and electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you.
Both parts of the system work together to ensure you receive accurate information about your energy use in near real time. The system automatically shares these readings with your supplier, making sure your energy bills are always accurate.
Your smart meter takes readings wirelessly through its own secure network and sends half-hourly gas readings and 10-second electricity readings to your in-home display.
You can choose to have this information sent to your supplier monthly, daily or even half-hourly. Sending this data to your supplier more frequently means they can better advise you on where you could make savings.
Smart meters can also help reconnect you more efficiently should your energy be cut off unexpectedly.
Your in-home display
In-home displays can sit anywhere in your home. Seeing how much energy you’re using as you use it means on those cold winter nights when you might be worried about the cost of turning up the heating, you can stay warm knowing exactly what it’s costing you.
Having this information also means you can switch to a better deal more confidently.
In-home displays are being designed for people with impairments or disabilities, including sight, dexterity and memory issues. Contact your supplier to find out what’s available.
When can you get a smart meter?
Every home in Britain will be able to upgrade to a smart meter by 2020. Where you live, they type of home you live in, and the age of your existing meter may mean that your supplier will take a little longer than others.
Your supplier will be in touch when your smart meter is ready to be installed. But you can contact your supplier now to register your interest and find out how soon you could be enjoying the benefits.
Preparing for the installation and what to expect:
- Smart meters are provided at no extra cost - so you won't have to pay for the installation
- You don't need permission from Curo to have a smart meter installed if you're responsible for paying the energy bill (although you should inform us)
- Your supplier will be in touch to arrange this installation. They'll never turn up on your doorstep unexpectedly
- When the installer arrives they should show a valid identity card. Always ask to see this - a genuine caller will never mind being asked
- Make sure you know where your current gas and electricity meters are located and that they're accessible
- You or a responsible adult must be present during the installation, which will take around two hours - during this time your energy supply will be cut off for a short period
- Once your smart meter is fitted, the installer will talk you through how to use your new in-home display
- If a gas meter is being fitted, the installer will also perform a safety check on your appliances as part of your installation. If you're a Curo tenant, any concerns should be raised with us
Save up to £150 a year
With or without a smart meter, there are things you can start doing today to cut your energy use and save money.
- Turning any central heating thermostats down by one degree, keeping internal doors closed and fitting energy saving lightbulbs could save you between £80 and £85 every year
- Turning off lights when you’re not in the room could save you around £13 a year
- Turning computers, TVs, rechargeable shavers, toothbrushes and mobile equipment off at the wall, instead of leaving on standby, could save £6 a year
- Set washing machines at 30 degrees rather than higher could save £6 a year
- You could save £29 a year by drying clothes on a clothesline instead of using a tumble dryer
- Only filling the kettle up with the amount of water you need could save around £7 a year
- Cutting your shower time down to four minutes could save you on average £15 a year
Smart meters are paving the way to a smarter, more energy-efficient future. If you don’t know who your supplier is you can call 0870 608 1524 to find out.
What are you waiting for!