In this post, I will be sharing information on what is a smart meter for electricity.
Smart meters are efficient and have the ability to measure how much gas and electricity you consume in your home, the same as traditional meters. But the difference between the conventional meters and smart meters is that the smart one features the more advanced and latest technology. Furthermore, this enables you to view and monitor your readings and consumption in real-time and with enhanced accuracy.
Moreover, smart meters are designed to save you some bucks, and they are also environmentally friendly compared to traditional meters. Let’s start with the basics of smart meters and how they are the right choice for your home.
How do smart meters work?
Smart meters use a secure network to connect your meter with the energy supplier. This network is similar to a mobile phone network that is governed by the DCC. Then DCC sends your meter readings from your smart meter to your energy supply provider.
Moreover, due to this network, the meter shows your readings and other data in real-time through its In-Home Display (IHD) – a compact digital screen that you will not find in mechanical dials and traditional meters.
What is IHD in an electric smart meter?
Your IHD display works as a monitoring tool, and it comes with your electric smart meter. It shows your exact energy usage in kWh and pounds and pence so that you can get a clear view of your energy usage.
What Is A Smart Meter For Electricity?
Smart meters work differently from traditional meters, especially when they are gauging electricity or gas. Smart meter for electricity are connected with your main and shows you precise consumption and sends your meter reading to your suppliers. While smart meters for gas work through batteries and remains inactive most of the time. To be precise, it works every half an hour to send your reading to the IHD and your gas provider.
The major benefit of using these meters is that accurateness. It saves you from those hefty and unexpectedly high bills. Plus, you will know exactly where you are consuming the energy.
Below we will discuss the pros and cons of smart meters to give you a clear and comprehensive understanding of using these meters at your home.
Why opt for smart meters? The advantages
Here are just common benefits that you will get after installing a smart meter:
They give you a clear and better understanding of your energy consumption: With a smart meter, energy spending at your place will no longer be a mystery as smart meters allow you to see and monitor usage in real-time. Hence there will be no surprises, and you will know how much you have to pay for the consumption before the end of the month. Furthermore, these meters can show you how much every spin cycle is costing you and how much your storage heater is costing. This allows you to make quick and necessary adjustments to your energy consumptions.
They improve your habits to save you some bucks: As they provide you with a better understanding of your energy consumption, you can take measures to cut it. You can easily identify when your bills shoot up or which appliances are costing you more money? This allows you to save money by reducing the usage of those high-power devices, or you can buy the new and more energy-efficient models. All this is only possible in smart meters, not from the traditional meters.
They are environmentally friendly: Reduction in your energy consumption and expenses is also valuable for the environment. This is because less energy consumption means less CO2 discharges and a minimum reliance on fossil fuels.
Say goodbye to estimated electricity bills. With a smart meter for electricity, you will actually be billed on the basis of assumptions or estimates. Plus, no over or undercharging on your direct debit. This is because smart meter sends accurate meter readings directly to your energy supplier, and hence you will pay only for what you will use. This also saves you from building up unnecessary credit, and we all know that it is impossible to get back.
There is no need to send monthly meter readings manually: Another benefit of using a smart meter is that there is no need to send your monthly meter readings to the suppliers. Instead, your energy supplier will get your meter readings automatically and accurately from your smart meter so that you can get the right and accurate energy bills without taking and sending your meter readings.
Smart meters are free to install: Energy suppliers are obligated to install smart electricity meters, and there are no charges for the smart meter installation. However, you have to wait until your energy supplier’s rollout reaches your area to install the smart meter.
New and better tariffs and offerings: In the near future, the most attractive energy tariffs will only be offered to those users who have smart meters. There will be many exclusive deals and exclusive tariffs for smart meter users. That’s why it is important for you to install the smart meter as per the government policy.
Makes tariffs simpler to manage: Customers on prepayment option or have Economy 7 tariffs can easily manage their tariffs if they have a smart meter. This is because you can see your usage and as you will be paying less for your energy bills, so it will enable you to save.
Smart meters for electricity: Common Issues and Disadvantages:
Some common issues and the downside of smart meters that you might face are mentioned below:
Saving is for sure but only with proactive use: While smart meters ensure you save in your energy consumption and bills, but you have to adopt a proactive approach to do so. You have to monitor your energy usage regularly, and you must change your habits to save money.
Smart electricity meters are not foolproof. Like any other gadget or technology, things are not perfect in the smart meter, and they can go wrong. A technical fault in your smart meter means that it will revert to its old functionality and will not provide updates in real-time. In this case, you will have to take meter readings manually until it gets fixed.
Questions over user privacy and data: Some people refuse smart meters because of privacy issues. They think that their personal data and other information will be passed on to third parties. Remember that no personal data or information is passed on to third companies without your consent. Hence you can rest assured that your privacy will not be breached by installing the smart meters.
Replacement will be more frequent than traditional meters: As per government and various energy suppliers, smart meters have a working life of up to ten years then you will have to replace them. However, that was not the case with the traditional meters we have used for decades without any issue. In this way, the working lifespan of a smart meter is limited to the traditional ones, but the advantages that it offers to overshadow this minor drawback.
Their smart functionality will lose if you switch: Many of the smart meters installed are first-generation meters (SMETS1). The biggest issue with these types of smart meters is that they can go dumb or stop working when you change your energy supplier.
However, second-generation smart meters (SMETS2) don’t have this issue, which are much better than their counterparts. Technically speaking, this is not the issue anymore, but many users don’t think this way and associate this issue with smart meters.
If you don’t know the difference between SMETS1 vs. SMETS2 smart meters, check our next section.
SMETS1 vs. SMETS2
If you are new to smart meters or planning to get one for your home, chances are higher that you can get confused between SMETS1 and SMETS2 smart meters. In simple words, SMETS1 is the first generation of and SMETS2 is the second and the latest generation of the smart meters.
SMETS1 meters were decent, but as we have mentioned above, they can go dumb when you switch your energy supplier. In some cases, it is seen that they lose their smart features and functions when you change your supplier.
On the other hand, SMETS2 smart meters do not have this technical fault. In fact, using a SMETS2 meter makes switching quicker and easier. This is because the national communications network that links SMETS2 smart meters makes this process quick and without any issue. Hence you can change your energy supplier anytime you want.
In the End:
Smart meters are handy tools that you can use to monitor, manage and track your electricity usage and performance of electronic appliances in your home. What makes the smart meters truly “smart” is their ability to provide detailed and accurate information regarding your electrical usage in real-time or at your determined time and without any technician.
References: Smart Meters