Smart Meters

Smart meters


What is a smart meter?

A smart meter replaces a household’s existing traditional meter.

Smart meters come with an in-home display to let customers see how much energy they are using. This enables them to make changes to their energy usage and quickly see the effects on how much they are charged. Smart meters can be either prepayment (also known as pay as you go) or for people who pay by direct debt or another billing schedule.

With old, legacy meters, the customer would need to look at the meter and then manually send readings to their supplier to make sure they are being billed correctly, or the supplier would make use of estimates.


How do they fit into the future energy system?

As well as offering households a greater insight into their energy usage, and enabling more accurate billing, smart meters are also seen as key to Britain’s future energy system. Smart meters are planned to be part of the smart grid of the future, with generators, networks, households, businesses and devices (appliances and electric vehicles) all speaking to each other. This is intended to enable the system to be as flexible and efficient as possible, based on real-time updates on energy usage.


Who is delivering the smart meter rollout?

Energy suppliers are required by the government to offer smart meters to all their customers, as well as handling installation.

Smart Energy GB is the independent, non-profit, government-backed campaign organisation in charge of promoting the smart meter rollout and informing the public. National Energy Action works in partnership with Smart Energy GB, leading on and delivering the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme.

The smart meter network is run by the Data Communication Company (DCC), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capita plc and is regulated by Ofgem. The DCC is responsible for connecting smart meters to a secure network and managing the infrastructure that underpins the smart meter rollout.