The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has laid out the following information about smart meters:
- Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They are part of the UK Government’s plan for upgrading the UK’s energy system.
- All homes and small businesses to have smart meters by 2020. Energy suppliers will be required to install smart meters and take all reasonable steps to install them for everybody.
- Consumers with smart meters will be offered an in-home display (IHD) that lets them see how much energy they are using and what it will cost.
Among the benefits of smart meters to consumers are:
- Near real-time information on energy use, expressed in pounds and pence
- An end to estimated billing – people will only be billed for the energy they actually use and there will be no need to manually read meters as smart meters communicate directly with the energy supplier.
DECC is carrying out research into consumers’ perceptions of smart meters.
A smart meter can work in prepayment or credit mode. Prepayment customers are expected to see some particular benefits from having a smart meter. For example:
- Energy suppliers may offer new and more flexible ways of topping up their meter including the ability to top up over the phone or online.
- The smart meter can be set so that consumers do not run out of credit at night and won’t be left without power when the shops shut.
Find out more by visiting Smart meters: a guide.
DECC now produces quarterly reports on the number of smart meters being installed.
The UK Government is ensuring that appropriate consumer protections are put in place e.g. there will be no sales during the installation visit, and that installers must provide energy efficiency advice as part of the visit, and that they will need the consumer's permission in advance of the visit if they are to talk to them about their own products. These provisions are outlined in the Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice.
The smart meter rollout will start in 2016 and is being described as ‘a transformation, unprecedented in its reach and scale, to improve a core part of the backbone of our nation’s energy infrastructure’.
The energy supply companies manage the physical rollout and Smart Energy GB will manage the national campaign. Its task is to help everyone understand smart meters and how to use them. This body has worked with a range of stakeholders to produce its Consumer Engagement Plan.
See also EAS’s involvement in the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme.
This DECC leaflet explains how the smart metering system will work from late 2016, when a new shared smart metering national infrastructure is in place.