Smart meters have the potential to revolutionise our energy usage in the UK. Designed to monitor a home’s energy consumption in real time, smart meters give users much greater control of their energy, allowing them to maximise efficiency and cut their bills.

The benefits of smart meters are well known; in fact, they are a huge part of government efforts to decrease the UK’s carbon footprint. By 2020, it is hoped that all homes in the UK will contain smart meters, and there are plenty of high quality brands already available on the market.

As part of its environmental drive, the government has required UK energy suppliers to provide smart meters for all of their customers by 2020. While this service is almost exclusively free of charge, it also means that the installed meters are owned by the energy suppliers that provide them. 

Whether or not you are buying a smart meter of your own, it should always be installed by a qualified electrician. There are other smart ‘monitors’, which are easier and safer to install, though these lack many of the advantages of smart meters, such as being able to offer convenient credit or prepayment schemes. If you think that your home would benefit from a more comprehensive service, you may want to contact a home automation specialist for a survey. In addition to top notch advice, they may also offer services such as Nest smart thermostat installation


Installing a smart meter

Before you buy a smart meter, you should know that you can probably get one free of charge! Government regulations require all UK energy suppliers to offer smart meters to their customers before 2020. If you are the account holder and pay your home’s utility bills, then you should be contacted by your provider over the next few years. Of course, you can always get in touch with them before then to arrange an installation.

It is important to note that it is legal for you to request a smart meter installation if you are the utility account holder and bill payer, even if you are a tenant. However, it is advised that you still speak to your landlord before booking an installation if this is the case. If your landlord is the one paying the bills, you will need their permission first.

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The service may begin with an inspection of your home, including its current utilities. Be careful here, as certain companies may use this as an excuse to sell you more equipment or policies! 

The actual installation should last between one and two hours, and will require the installer to switch off your gas/ electrical utilities for around half an hour.

To make your installation go smoothly, there are a few things which you can to repair. First of all, make sure that your installer will have proper access to your property, as well as your current meter. Most companies will also require someone over the age of 18 to be present during the installation. Secondly, you may be asked to provide a reading from your current meter. While it should be simple to get this information, your installer should be able to take the reading when they arrive if need be.

Once the installation is finished, your Pro will check to make sure that the system is functioning properly. You will also usually be given a free smart monitor which you can use to track your energy usage.