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Just What Are Smart Meters?

If the traditional image of the man from the energy company turning up every few months to “read the meter” seems out of step with the modern world, a world where advancements in technology means that all aspects of your life should be right at your fingertips, then you will be pleased to know that things are changing. We live at a time when you can control your home security whilst hiking in the Andes or make bank transfers whilst sunning your self in the Algarve, so it seems illogical that a representative would need to turn up to your home to physically record your energy usage or worse, that you have to be subjected to an estimated bill. What an antiquated way of doing things! Thankfully the answer is here and the answer is the Smart Meter.

A Smart Meter comes in two parts. The first is an actual replacement meter which is no more intrusive than the one it replaces, the second is an almost pocket sized digital display that shows you, the user, exactly how much energy you are using, in pounds and pennies and in almost real time. Pretty much the antithesis of the estimated bill and making the unwanted intrusion of the meter reader a thing of the past.

Not only does the display show you exactly what you are using in real monetary terms it sends a monthly update to your energy supplier so that your bills will have a margin for error that is almost non-existent.

So what’s the catch? Well, none. The smart meter and the display box, which can just sit on a window sill or worktop taking up no room at all, are free of charge and fitting takes minutes. They work on their own wireless system and so don’t rely on the household’s existing broadband or Wi-Fi in the same way that your TV or remote car keys work in isolation.

And just how smart are they? The straight answer is…very. Not only does the display show you exactly what you are using energy-wise at any given time, thus prompting you to hunt down those lights which don’t need to be left on, it allows you to look back at how much energy you have used in the last hour, day, week or month, giving you a clear pattern of the household’s energy use.

If you find it easier to work to a budget you can apply for a pre-paid meter which will allow you to set a certain amount of money to your monthly usage. The meter will show you how much credit remains, including a debt balance (a sort of energy overdraft) if you have one, and so prompts you to make Smart decisions, such as have a shower instead of a bath or to put on a jumper instead of turning the heating up.

So how do you get Smart? Just go to your energy suppliers website or give them a ring, it’s as simple as that. As they say, Smart is the new sexy!