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How does a smart meter save you money?

We take a look at how a smart meter works and the ways it can save you and your business money in the long term.

You may be looking at different ways you can save money on your utility bills, one thing you may have been overlooking is to install a smart meter. There are many reasons why you should be thinking about having a smart meter installed, including saving money on your bills. We will take a look at what they are and how you can benefit from them. 

What is a smart meter?

Just like a traditional meter, a smart meter will measure your gas and electricity usage, but with a traditional meter you would need to send readings to your supplier, but a smart meter would do it automatically. Once your smart meter is installed, the days are gone where you would need to take readings and send them off, which of course means the end of estimated bills. 

Smart meters also come with an in-home display (IHD) meaning you can keep track of your usage.

How can a smart meter save you money?

One of the best things you can do to use the smart meter to your advantage is to simply use the in-home display to keep tabs on how much energy you are using. You will notice times when you are using too much energy and you can make adjustments to lower your electricity usage, maybe noticing your electricity usage is higher than normal makes you realise you have left some appliances on by mistake. Monitoring your energy usage will make you understand your energy habits better and you can even compare day to day usage. Many people with smart meters have started to take energy saving actions. 

Another thing that not everyone is aware of, it isn’t just about how much electricity you use, but what times of day you use it. Electricity is priced differently depending on when you use it and there are three different rates, peak, off-peak and shoulder. These rates are only an option with a smart meter, whereas with a standard meter you will only have a single-rate plan meaning you can’t take advantage of using electricity at off-peak times. 

The peak rate is when electricity will cost the most, and it is usually applied to the evening hours of Monday to Friday. 

Off-peak is when electricity will be the cheapest, which would usually be the overnight hours and weekends. It could be financially a sound decision to do some chores that require electricity during these hours. 

Shoulder rates are simply priced in between peak and off-peak, and are applied during the times between those two rates. 

So while a smart meter does not directly save you money, it can persuade you to make changes to your energy usage which can lead to saving money on your energy bills. 

Getting a smart meter fitted

Once you have started your journey in getting a smart meter fitted, there is no pressure on you to install this. Your supplier will be responsible for fitting and installing it. Also, once they have done this they explain the process to you beforehand, show you how to use the smart meter which includes giving you a copy of the instructions and they should tell you how to use your energy efficiently. 

Can you refuse a smart meter?

You can refuse to have a smart meter installed, although if your energy supplier tells you that you must have one fitted you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline. If you do refuse it though you should be aware that you will struggle to gain access to all tariffs, this will be because any future tariffs that suppliers may offer may only be available to customers with smart meters. 

In summary

There are of course many benefits to installing a smart meter, including; 

  • Being able to read your electricity usage

  • Having access to more rates

  • They teach you to use your electricity more efficiently

You should be aware there are plenty of ways you can save money on your electricity bills, for example, use your washing machine during off-peak hours or weekends. 

There is no reason why you should spend more on your electricity bills when there are ways you can save. Technology is also moving forward and we should use this to our advantage, smart meters are here and you can use them to your benefit. 

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