8 common myths about smart meters

Smart meters have a lot of myths surrounding them, and I’m here to put some of the rumours to rest. :thinking:

I’ve lined up 8 of some of the most common misconceptions to debunk, but let me know in the comments if you have any other burning questions about smart meters you’d like answering.

1- They don’t work :sleepy:

They absolutely do! Smart meters are a network-based technology so they may have bumps in the road from time to time if there’s less signal coverage in your area, and we can’t read all smart meters just yet, it depends on which type you have. You may want to check with us whether we’ll be able to read this before you switch. We’ve also written about what makes smart meters ‘smart’ in the community before.

2- My smart meter looks like this :eyes:


That’s your in-home display (IHD), rather than your smart meter. The IHD will show you your daily information about your usage and readings, but even if you don’t have one, your smart meter (the one that’s attached to the wall) will work independently and still send us your readings. Please remember that your IHD is mainly for an overview of your usage and if you ever need to manually send us a reading, make sure to take one from the smart meter itself.

If you don’t have an IHD, get in touch with us and we’ll have a look if we’re able to get you one. If your smart meter was installed by another company, an IHD we send to you won’t be able to communicate with the meter unfortunately but you should be able to use the one they’ve given you.

3- Smart meters store your data :computer:

Smart meters do not store or share any of your personal information. The only data they can share with your supplier is your readings and your tariff. This is protected by the law. The readings are sent to us via a secure, purpose built WAN (Wide Area Network) set up by the DCC (Data Communications Company) and is not stored or shared on the internet.

4- You can’t switch suppliers if you have a smart meter installed :left_right_arrow:

You can switch no matter what kind of meter you have. Some smart meters can only be read by the supplier that installed them(these are usually older, first generation smart meters that were installed pre-2018), but we’re working on communicating with all smart meters so we’ll hopefully be able to connect very soon.

5- Smart meters are bad for your health :face_with_thermometer:

Smart meters emit low level radio waves. That’s the same frequency as a mobile phone or a baby monitor. They are harmless and should not cause any issues with your health, but you can always talk to your GP if you’re concerned or you can read the safety report published by the government.

6- Anyone can have a smart meter installed :house:

Unfortunately not all properties are quite ready to have a smart meter installed yet. The plan is for all properties to have one installed by 2024, as decided by the government but there are a few factors we need to consider before we can install. Most importantly, we need to make sure that the property has smart signal. This is a WAN (Wide Area Network) which stretches across the UK, and although it’s growing all the time, it’s still not available in some areas. If there is no smart signal, we won’t be able to fit smart meters at the moment.

7- I have to have a smart meter installed now :spiral_calendar:

If you don’t want to have a smart meter installed, don’t worry, you’re under no obligation at the moment. Just let us know and we can stop communications asking you to have one.

8- Smart meters cause higher bills :money_with_wings:

A smart meter sends us meter readings at a frequency of your choosing, which means you have an accurate bill for your usage. If you’ve only given sporadic readings and mainly had estimated bills previously, you may find that it looks like your monthly spend has changed, but it’s most likely because your bills are completely accurate now and are a true reflection of your usage.

Smart meters are actually proven to reduce people’s usage and lower their CO2 as they’re more aware of how they’re using their energy. If you ever need to discuss your bill or if you’re concerned about a high bill you’ve received, just get in touch with us.

We’ve written more about the perks of going smart (as well as what to expect on installation day) in our guide to smart meters. . You can find more answers to common smart meter questions in our Help Centre, too.

2 Likes

It is my personal opinion but feel the need to have some dispute regarding your points, while technically correct that one can save money by going smart evidence shows most revert back to their old ways once the novelty wears off (Ave 2 weeks) and the real saving is around £10 per year.
I am led to believe that all customers are paying for smart meters even if they dont have one so off setting that cost against any savings means a portion of their Bills are paying for Smart meters, the last I heard was around £200 per year although I dont follow it closely these days.
So if one could take away the cost consumers are charged for the smart project, do their own monitoring and switch to whatever company they feel gives the best prices one could possibly be 2 or 3 hundred £s better off.

When will I be able to install a smart meter covering both a General Meter and an Ovenight Storage meter. Many older properties have these and I have been waiting over 2 years. It seems your prices on Storage electricity are rising faster than general.

hey @scudo,

Do you mean people revert back to old habits? This might be the case but you can still get a lot more accurate info from the meters so if you did want to save money you’d be able to see how/when you’re using it. This would also be relevant to things like battery storage or EVs where you can save through smarter charging as well :zap:

We’re installing smart meters for free and then members are billed to their meter readings on our tariff. I’m not too sure what you meant by all customers are paying for smart meters even if they don’t have one - can you elaborate a bit further?

Hi @DoubleD - welcome to Community !

If you have storage heaters we should soon be able to install smart for you. At the moment we’re trialling the type of smart meters needed for these properties (they’re 5 terminal meters) so it should be in the next few months all things going to plan :partying_face:

Yes, My comments are personal probably unfair to the majority of customers as I have spent sometime constructing a spreadsheet which I have used since 2015. At that time (2015) my highest bill was £143 in January and this year (2021) £146, so despite all the price increases my highest total bill has only increased by £3 over 6 years.
I read my meter once a week and this gives me accurate costs to the penny, I also have a monthly forecast based on my weekly readings so know in advance my monthly bill as the month progresses.
By using the above I have easily identified my usage over a period to enable me to be more efficient in my usage. I reckon by doing the above I have saved considerably more than I would have if using a Smart meter, or put another way I have saved hundreds without having a Smart meter.

@scudo That’s an impressive time to keep up to date with a spreadsheet- I definitely wouldn’t have been able to keep up the habit so perhaps falling into old habits is fair about me!

I think different strokes for different folks- smart meters definitely help me be more aware of what I use day to day and how much some things can use but I suppose there are other ways to save and be energy conscious for sure. I reckon with tech moving along they might become more useful with things like EVs to save by charging in the off peak times but this is very person-specific

Do you ever use the Bulb carbon bot? It lets us know the greenest times of the grid to do things so is another way to be aware of what you’re using and the impact its having or is it just the cost effectiveness you look into?