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To smart meter or not to smart meter?

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My utility supplier is pushing for the installation of a smart meter(s).  The electric one is in a communal hall and awkward to read. The gas meter is in my flat.  

My last provider was one of those who went bust and I’ve ended up with a large and not particularly green supplier, so once things have settled down (if they ever do) I’d like to leave.  OTH this supplier lets me pay what I like by DD and to top up if there is a shortfall (I resent paying for more than I use, and am fully aware that I need to budget more for the projected rises in October and January, and that my usage will obviously go up over winter. I will not fall into debt.)

So, apart from not having to get down on my knees to read the electric meter once a month, is there really any advantage in having a smart meter? Does it make changing supplier a hassle?
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  • joedenise
    joedenise Posts: 16,608 Forumite
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    We always said we didn't want one but relented a couple of months ago and it's amazing how much less electric we are using now compared to when we didn't have one!  DH always used to have the TV on even though he wasn't watching it but since we got the smart meter and he could see how much it was costing to just have a noise in the room it's only one when there's something one or other of us wants to watch.

    We have currently set a budget on the smart meter of £2 a day and we have managed to keep it under that every day since we got the in house display.

    So I would say go for it - it will certainly mean the end to getting down low to read the meter!

    I had a similar problem in that the electric meter was almost up by the ceiling so a crick in the neck to read it and the gas meter was down on the floor and I used to have to lay down on my stomach to read it!  No more of that any more!
  • CJRyder
    CJRyder Posts: 238 Forumite
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    Personally I wouldn't bother. The only way to cut down energy usage is to use less. You can do that without a smart meter telling you that the red light on the TV is using electricity. 
    Mortgage free by 33 - (21/07/22 - 32 years and a bit...)

    Most DIY problems can be solved by a combination of spanner, pliers, screwdriver, Allan key and a blade. (Hold it, twist it, cut it!) Very occasionally industrial language, a hammer and an adhesive may need to be added to the mix. (Curse it, hit it, patch it!)
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,792 Forumite
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    The main advantage apart from taking away the difficulty of reading is that in the future you will be able to take advantage of cheaper low demand electricity. 
  • littlemoney
    littlemoney Posts: 788 Forumite
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    The advantage of smart meters is it will allow providers to charge more at certain times of the day. I don't need a smart meter to tell me to turn things off, only heat one room, wear extra clothes to reduce consumption and save money.
  • bouicca21
    bouicca21 Posts: 6,521 Forumite
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    Thanks, that’s an interesting set of responses. I have tended to feel that like @littlemoney and @CJRyder the way to save is not to use and I’m not sure a smart meter would make much difference.

    The idea of low offpeak pricing has its attractions but it isn’t on offer so I can’t factor it in.


  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,951 Forumite
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    edited 7 August 2022 at 8:43PM
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    Changing to a smart meter doesn’t make swapping any more difficult. With smets1 meters they used to go dumb when you moved but that’s not an issue with the smets2 ones which are being used now. 

    I don’t use my IHD but if I got a sudden and unexpected hoik in use it might be helpful to identify what it is.

    I swapped because I couldn’t see a good reason not to, (not being a fully paid up member of the tinfoil hat brigade), because some tariffs insist on it, but primarily because it’s a heck of a sight easier than trying to crawl into my fairly inaccessible gas meter cupboard every month. :D 

    There is some concern that in future when most people have them then it will be easier to companies to charge differently at different times of day, but if it encourages people to think more about what they’re doing and when, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    I always take photos of my meters when I change supplier anyway, and occasionally I check the meter to make sure the IHD hasn’t gone mad. But so far there’s nothing not to like. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • swabaxter
    swabaxter Posts: 43 Forumite
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    One of the issues around smart metering is the distance between the gas and electricity meters so there could be no guarantee that with the current generation of technology your installation will work. Dual band meters are in the pipeline so I would suggest that you might want to hold off for now.
  • Sky_
    Sky_ Posts: 605 Forumite
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    Don't smart meters use electricity to function?  It may only be a small amount, but can't be less than small appliances when switched off, yet I still turn those off at the plug to save electricity. 

    I agree that the best way to save is to turn things off properly.  On an average day, only mine and DH laptops (for working from home) and my LED craft light are turned on.

    In the evenings the TV is also turned on.  We each have a couple of coffees in the morning, then stick to water until evening.  In Winter we use a camping kettle on the wood stove to heat water for hot drinks.  We're very grateful that we were able to install the stove a couple of years ago  (We live in a rural area with fairly frequent power cuts and our house is almost all electric, so saving for a stove was a priority.) 

    Most cooking is done in an instant pot and microwave and frozen foods are defrosted in the fridge before cooking, to reduce cooking times/save electricity. I gave the tumble drier away years ago and I'm constantly trying to find ways to cut gas/electric/food etc without us feeling too deprived. 

    Our motivation is to overpay our mortgage as much as possible before our fixed rate ends in 2024, because who knows what interest rates will be then!  I'm too ill to work much and DH already works long hours, so I'm very worried about what mortgage costs will be in early 2024. 
    2022. 2% MF challenge. £730/3000
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