Smart Meters have taken a bashing of late, with news sites and papers often slandering the market as a whole, but do they have all the facts?
Smart Meters are a government led rollout, aimed at replacing the existing ‘dumb’ meters with the new smart technology. This allows consumers across the UK to become more conscious of their bills than previously, whilst also allowing consumers to do away with estimated bills as a whole. Something that has plagued the energy industry for 10+ years.
However, with any rollout where there are 53 million smart meters to install, there are going to be teething problems, there are going to be consumers who simply aren’t interested and there are going to be those customers that you cannot get hold of. This is normal, it happened with broadband lines, it happened with motorways, it happens all the time.
So why are smart meters getting such a hard time?
Well, smart meters create a rollout problem as a whole for utility suppliers. Logistically they’re easy to install, however it depends on the current strategy of that particular roll out. So the best way to buy time is to muddy the water of the roll out enough, so people gain some momentum in trying to park the rollout. Allowing them time to figure out what they’re going to do.
Smart Meters are new, people don’t know much about how they work, how they operate, some people think that smart meters function through wifi (They don’t), some fear that they’re open to hacking (which they aren’t), a lot of people see it as spying, and some people think they’re bad for your health (they’re not).
To answer each will show that the monster smart meters are made out to be, they simply aren’t and getting one, whilst there will be some novelty affect with the In home display or IHD, overall the technology will evolve, meaning that controlling your home from your smart phone, upgrading the lights, old/inefficient appliances will see your energy bills decrease.
What are smart meters?
Smart meters are a new form of electric and gas meter. They communicate on behalf of the household consumption and relay the information back to your supplier. That is it, no hidden agenda, you simply are saving time with reading your meters. So no more door knocking to get a meter read, the meter does it for you. Whilst there have been some glitches in billing, this is no different to the existing dumb meters when you received estimated bills that were astronomically high, they just need to iron those glitches out, which they have to ensure they don’t consistently happen. To put it into context 30 devices have shown bills of £30,000 or more. 11 Million meters have been installed to date! and none of those customers had to pay that £30,000 it was rectified and the customers were given compensation for their worries.
Smart meters do not function through wifi, they use a small sim card comparable with your phone but drastically encrypted to protect your reads. They do not transfer customer information, only usage.
Are smart meters safe?
Yes, smart meters are safe. Whilst there has been a lot of scare mongering amongst certrain papers, tv programmes and people across the UK, the incidents where there have been faulty or damaged meters is relative to around 0.00075% of meters going faulty so far. To put this into further context, out of those 0.00075% faulty meters, two incidents were inconclusive as to how their faults started, meaning that the meters installed could not be the sole reason the property was faulty.
Papers and TV programmes love a good headline and to compare to the existing dumb meters you have in your homes at present, on average 10% of all the UK’s meters go faulty each year!
So should you have a smart meter, the question is very easy to be honest, the rollout is mandated, suppliers have to get these installed by 2020 so you may as well get one, as the technology will evolve and you will be left with a meter that you can fully understand, rather than the dumb meters that go 10% faulty each year.
You will save money by having a smart meter as you will become more conscious of your energy usage. People will say but that doesn’t reduce your energy bills, this is an awful statement because by understanding your energy usage you can plan times when certain appliances are used, you can see which appliances are using the most and question if you require a new more energy efficient appliance and overall you become more energy conscious, thus reducing your energy bills.