In this short guide, we will be discussing how is a smart meter fitted?
A smart meter is a device that records your gas and electricity consumption in real-time. It is connected to the Internet, so it can be read remotely by you or your supplier. A smart meter will help you manage your energy use more efficiently as well as being able to get alerts about any impending problems with your supply and get more accurate bills also.
How are they fitted? Your old style meter is replaced with new digital ones, which require a small amount of work on behalf of an electrician or qualified specialist. They’ll remove the current meter and install the new one, connecting it to our network using either Wi-Fi or radiofrequency technology depending on where it’s situated.
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Before you decide to make a switch to a smart meter, it is also good to seek energy efficiency advice and check with different energy suppliers so that your estimated bills can be reduced and you can save energy too.
Over 20 million smart meters are installed in the UK. In this post, we will cover everything you must know before and during installing a smart meter, whether it is an electricity smart meter or gas and electricity meters installation, including how it is fitted in your home and how they are better than your old meter.
Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity is used at your property, then send this information over to your energy supplier so that you can be charged for what you use. You can also check your smart meter readings easily.
The work to install smart meters will be carried out by an accredited installer. Smart meters connect to your gas and electricity supply through the same wires that are currently used for analogue meters (existing meters) (these are the wires you see on the outside of your property). The smart meter’s connection is made via a small, grey box called a ‘network interface device which is normally installed near the smart meter in your home.
Besides, no need to refuse smart meters anymore as second-generation smart meters are upgraded, improved and all the problems users reported in the first generation meters are not in them. Still, you can refuse the installation of a smart meter in your home but it is always a better idea to get a smart meter installed at your home.
At the present time, almost all energy companies are installing second-generation smart meters, and these meters are gaining users’ trust quickly. Exactly how much energy you can save by installing one smart meter depends on your usage but installing a smart meter is always a good idea.
Having said that, here is all you need to know before you agree to an installation appointment with your energy supplier. Continue reading to find out how smart meters are fitted and what happens during a smart-meter installation.
How Is A Smart Meter Fitted?
Smart Meter Installation
The installation process of a smart meter, gas and electricity, is quite easy and swift. In normal cases, and if all the things are going smooth, to get your smart meter installed, the installation of a smart meter takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. But the installation time, either for a gas smart meter or electricity meter, is not the same for every user. It differs from property to property and also depends on the location of your current meters.
Here are some tips for you to make sure smart meter installer proper installs at your home:
Smart Meter Installation Preparation
Here are some vital points to follow before and during the installation of a new meter at your place:
- Open all the external windows and doors where your smart meter is being installed.
- Remove the obstacles so that professionals can safely access your current meters, boiler, and other appliances. In short, provide quick and easy access to them for installation.
- It is suggested to remain at home during the installation or leave an adult at home during your smart meter installation.
- Keep kids and pets at a distance from the worksite.
- Be ready as your electricity will be turned off during the smart meter installation.
- Keep your mobile in hand and charge. This can come in handy when professionals want to speak with you while installing the meter.
What’s coming on the installation day?
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s coming on your way on the smart meter installation day after you decide on getting a smart meter:
Ensure someone’s home:
Please ensure that there is an adult is available at home to assist the engineers. Moreover, check their ID proof before giving them access to your meters.
For your security and safety, some suppliers provide an agreed password for the engineer and you that you can use when their representatives arrive at your place.
For health and safety reasons, the representative needs to keep wearing their shoes and if you are standing close to them, wear safety shoes as well. Besides, you can rest assured that they will work under strict safety rules to keep everyone safe.
Provide smooth access to them for quick and proper installation:
Similarly, it’s vital for you to provide smooth access to the engineers so that they can install the meters properly and in a hassle-free way. Another important thing here is that smart meters have different sizes; some are big and need more space than traditional meters. So, free up some extra room around your old meters for smooth and easy installation.
Consider the space
It would be best if you check out your meter’s dimensions to ensure that you leave enough space for installation. Generally, smart meters have the following sizes:
- Electricity smart meters measure around 130mm (W), 217mm (H), and 63mm (D).
- Gas smart meter measures around 235mm (W), 262mm (H), and 167mm (D).
Another important thing to remember before the smart meter’s fitting is that installation cost doesn’t involve moving or replacing your current meters, and you need to pay for it separately.
Look at the access
If your current meters are located in a locked room or cupboard or any communal area, keep the keys with you to avoid unnecessary hassles.
Turn off all electrical equipment.
As we have mentioned above, there won’t be electricity in your home during the smart meter installation. However still, we will advise you to turn off all the electrical appliances such as TVs, alarms, and gaming devices. This will prevent them from unforeseen hazards.
Some other things to consider during the installation of smart meters are given below for your review and action:
- If you have solar energy panels or any other device that generates renewable electricity in the way should be placed near the meters. If it is too far apart, you will have to install a special communications hub. But this is only applicable if the distance is too long.
- Moreover, if your meters are located in hard to reach area or inaccessible due to any reason, for example, located high on a wall, behind a locked cupboard or gate, or in a very compact place, in that case, you need to clear all such obstacles before the installation.
- Make sure to switch off your household alarms too to avoid any panic in your neighbourhood.
In-home display installation:
As part of the smart meter installation, you will also receive an in-home display (IHD) from your energy supplier. This is a compact, handheld digital device that allows for simple monitoring of your energy consumption.
Furthermore, you can see how much electricity and gas you’re actually consuming in real-time and how much these consumptions are costing you through this device.
The installer will show and teach you how to use this In-home display during the installation. If not, ask them to guide you as it is vital to know how to use the smart meter and in-home display. However, that’s not the only way to see your home’s energy usage. You can also check it out on the supplier’s website by logging into your account or through their official app.
In addition to that, your energy supplier’s representative will give you their recommendations and suggestions about how you can curtail your energy bills and how to use your smart meter for this purpose.
Remember that the installer should not sell you other services or accessories during the smart meter installation. This is because a code of conduct prohibits smart-meter suppliers/installers from any additional advertisement.
Common problems with smart-meter installers:
During the smart meter installation, professionals may spot potential problems relevant to your smart meters, such as broken or defective wiring, old and faulty equipment, burnt fuses, or faulty boilers.
According to a survey, around 635,000 such problems were identified by the engineers when fitting the smart meters in the UK. If they notice any of these problems, they will first investigate the issue to make the installation safe and proper.
However, if they notice any serious problem, they can stop the meter’s installation. This is rare, but this is possible, so be ready for that and don’t argue with them. In this case, the installers will thoroughly guide you about the problem and why they are not proceeding with the installation.
Furthermore, they will also tell you how you can rectify the issues and advise you what work needs to be performed to eliminate the problem.
How often will my smart meter need to be replaced?
Smart meters are durable and long-lasting if placed properly and maintained adequately. They will work for up to 10 years; then, you will have to replace them. This time period or working life is much more than the traditional gas and electric meters.
At the time of the replacement, the energy supplier will let you know when the replacement of your smart meter is due. Moreover, they will discuss the meter with you and then arrange a time and date for the replacement.
Additionally, almost all gas meters are battery-powered, so, like traditional prepayment gas meters, you need to replace their batteries when needed. This process is the same as with conventional gas prepayment meters.
However, the good thing is that your smart gas meter will send a notice to your supplier when the replacement is due, or you can contact them by yourself.
Smart Meter Installed
Lastly, smart electricity meters work through mains-power while the in-home displays can be either main powered or battery powered. If you see that it is not working properly, call the energy supplier and report the issue. However, it will not affect the working of your smart meter. Make sure your smart meter is working correctly.
Your smart meter is attached to an existing power point in your home. A smart meter specialist will check that the smart device fits the outlet correctly and safely without causing damage or making contact with wires. The smart meters used by suppliers are regularly tested by Ofgem and have been designed for safety. They are also certified as meeting all EU energy efficiency standards. They can certainly reduce your energy costs as compared to the old style meters installed at your home.
Some common questions that many users ask in this regard are given below for your perusal:
Do I need to pay any amount for the smart meter?
There is no upfront cost for the smart meter. Similarly, no cost or fee for the in-home display.
Do I need to have a working internet connection for the smart meter?
No, no need for an internet connection or Wi-Fi internet for your smart meter. Every smart meter comes with a SIM card, and it uses dedicated wireless channels to send your meter readings remotely.
Is it safe to opt for a smart meter?
There is no evidence that they are dangerous to your health. Smart meters are safe, reliable and millions of users are already using them. Plus, smart meters meet UK and EU safety standards.
Smart meters are installed outside your home at some distance from the actual smart meter. They are installed on walls or with ours, for example, smart meters can be mounted in a special holder attached to a wall or pole.
To improve visibility smart meters can also be installed on tall poles next to houses called gantry smart cabinets which also hold smart switches.
A smart meter is usually fitted by an authorised installer who has been trained and certified as competent to do so. The installer will need access to your home and possibly require permission to enter your property. All smart meters are designed to protect your home against electrical faults by limiting the current flowing through them in case of an internal electric shock. To optimally ensure energy supply to your home, always check your final meter readings before the billing date to receive more accurate bills.
References : How do smart meters work?