Smart Meters - What you need to know
Have you had a smart meter installed yet? They’re being rolled out to homes across the country, as part of the Government’s drive to cut the nation’s carbon emissions. Smart meters have an important role to play in helping the Government achieve this, because they show you how much energy you’re using in your home. you can monitor how much electricity different appliances use by turning them on and seeing the effect on your in-home display.
Smart meters help you create a smarter home, as they make you more aware of which household activities and appliances are most energy-intensive. Armed with this knowledge, you can take steps to reduce how much electricity you use and save money on your energy bills.
Want to have a smart meter installed?
If you are an EDF Energy customer and you haven’t had a smart meter installed yet, you can book an appointment here. Installation is free and takes about an hour per meter.
The smart meter will replace your existing gas and electricity meter(s) – and usually be installed in the same location. Smart meters work in exactly the same way as traditional meters; the main difference is that they send readings back to us automatically, so your bills are based on your actual energy use. It also means you’ll no longer have to scrabble around under the stairs with a torch or fight your way through cobwebs to take meter readings and send these to us, in order for us to calculate your bill accurately.
What does a smart meter look like?
Smart meters often don’t look that different to your old meters– but it isn’t actually the meter that will help you become smarter about your energy use. Instead it’s the handy little monitor that you’ll be given when your smart meter is installed. This is called an ‘in-home display’.
You don’t have to have one, of course, but these display how much electricity and gas you’re using – along with how much it’s costing you – at any moment in time. You can also see how much energy you used (and its cost) yesterday, last week or last month, so it’s extremely useful in helping you understand more about how your home uses electricity and gas.
How a smart meter can help your home become smarter
1. It helps you become energy-smart
The in-home display has a clever traffic light system so you can see straightaway whether your energy use is low, medium or high at any point in time. Put your display somewhere prominent around the home – like on the kitchen table or near your front door – so you’re always reminded of how much energy you’re using. And if it’s illuminated red as you’re heading out the front door, do a quick check around the house to make sure there aren’t any lights left on, hair straighteners plugged in or any other appliances using electricity when they don’t need to be.
Better still, invest in some smart home products that you can control through your phone, so you can take steps to reduce your energy use even when you’re not at home! These smart plugs work on your WiFi network, so you can switch them off and cut power to whatever appliance is plugged in, wherever you are in the world. They’re particularly handy if you’re prone to worrying about leaving the iron on as soon as you’ve walked out the front door.
There are also smart heating and smart lighting products to choose from – all of which are controlled through apps on your phone. Set your home’s heating to a lower temperature while you’re on the ski slopes, have lights switch off when there’s nobody in a room, or schedule the kids’ nightlights to turn off automatically when it’s bedtime to get smarter about how you use energy.
2. It helps you budget
The in-home display has lots of handy features to help you keep track of your gas and electricity use. Click through your historical data to find out how much you’ve spent (in pounds and pence) on both their IHDs and through MyAccount. to help you make decisions about whether you can turn the heating up or need to be more careful about what you use until the end of the month.
Smart heating products, like the Nest Learning Thermostat , give you even more insight into when and how you use heating around the home, through features such as the personalised Energy Savings Report they’ll send you every month.
3. It helps you track which appliances use the most electricity
Using the in-home display, you can see how much electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you. Go round the home switching different lights and appliances on to find out which use up the most electricity… you might be surprised at what you discover!
Once you know this, you can be more clever about how you use your appliances – making sure the dishwasher is always full before you run a cycle or only using energy-intensive appliances (like fans and electric heaters) for a limited period of time, for instance. Also, consider investing in smart lighting, so you can switch lights on/off using your phone or installing smart motion sensors to turn the lights off automatically in rooms that are empty.
Make the most of your smart meter
It’s up to you how often your smart meter sends reading back to us, but we recommend you set it to carry out half-hourly meter readings. This will give you the most accurate and up-to-date view of your energy use.
If you haven’t already, sign up to MyAccount to manage your account online. You can review your meter readings here, but also view your bills, make payments and find out details of your tariff. Don’t forget about EDF Energy’s mobile app too – you can download it for free from Google Play or the App Store.
Still got a question about smart meters?
If you want to have a smart meter installed, book your appointment here. Certain meter types aren’t eligible for a smart meter yet, but our online booking system will tell you if this is the case with your home.
And finally: did you know that you don’t have to be a homeowner to benefit from having a smart meter installed? If you’re living in rented accommodation, you can request a smart meter too. Ofgem, the energy regulator, recommends you talk to your landlord first.