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