One of the big incentives that seems to be pushed by energy providers for getting a smart meter fitted is that it will save you money. The thinking behind this is that because you can monitor your energy usage more closely, you are likely to use less energy. For example, you're more likely to switch off the lights, or maybe have your heating on for shorter periods of time. Perhaps you’ll be encouraged to boil smaller quantities of water in your kettle, when you realise exactly how much it costs to boil a full kettle! And I have no doubt that if we used smart meters in order to monitor our usage, this probably would reduce our bills by a small margin. But I suspect that people who are likely to be bothered to do that, are already conscious of these issues, and therefore probably already do what they can to save energy, whether it be for financial, or ecological reasons.
I recently read an article in Professional Electrician magazine which suggested that in a recent survey, a greater number of people who’d had smart meters installed, recorded an increase in their bills, than those who recorded a decrease. This being the case in spite of the fact that nearly a quarter of those asked, said that a probable decrease in costs was a major factor in them having one installed.
There have been various reasons that some people have been reluctant to have one installed, ranging from fears of cyber attack to the dangers of radiation being emitted by the meter.
I think I will get a smart meter fitted - one of the newer SMETS 2 meters. Essentially, SMETS 2 meters can be used by a range of suppliers, whereas often the SMETS 1 meters were only “smart” for the original supply company which installed it. This meant that if you changed your energy provider, the meter was no longer able to communicate with the new provider and reverted to being “dumb”. For me, the big advantage of having a smart meter is that I won’t have to crawl under the stairs in order to take readings any more!
Whatever your current thoughts on smart meters, it is almost certain that the vast majority of gas and electric meters will be changed to them over the next few years.