Smart meters explained

If you've got a question about smart meters, take a look at our answers to your frequently asked questions.

 

What is a Smart meter and how does it work?

A smart meter is an intelligent electricity meter that enables two way communications between your business and your energy supplier. Using electronic communications technology, like the SIM card in your mobile phone, it talks to us remotely, to send us accurate meter readings and electricity usage details.

Where will the new Smart meters be installed?

Most of the time, the smart meters can be installed in the same place as your old electricity meter. If this isn’t possible, or if you’d like them to be installed somewhere else, we’ll discuss the options available with you.

Do I have to pay anything for the new meter?

No. It’s free for us to exchange your current electricity meter for a smart meter and there are no ongoing costs.

Do I have to do anything before the appointment?

It’s helpful if you make sure the meter is easily accessible before our engineer arrives, so he/she can get to work straightaway. You should turn off all sensitive equipment such as computers and digital receivers so they’re not affected when the electricity supply is turned off.

How do I know that the meter installer is genuine?

We’ll only use our own, employed engineers to carry out this work. They should produce identification when they call at your premises – please check this carefully before you let them in. If you’re in any doubt, you can check their identity by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 0800 032 2409.

Will my Smart meter still work if I move energy supplier?

You’ll be free to move energy supplier at any time and we’ll do everything we can to ensure you continue to receive the benefits of smart metering. However, this service may be limited or a new supplier may not support smart meters.

What happens if the meter can't be fitted on the day?

Sometimes we might not be able to go ahead with a smart meter installation on the day. If this is the case, our engineer will explain to you why we’re not able to fit the smart meter and the steps we’ll take to enable a smart meter to be installed at a later date.

What if I don't want a Smart meter?

The Government has stipulated that all properties in the UK must be offered a smart meter. The time frame for this will be between now and 2020. But the sooner you have your new smart meter installed, the sooner your business can start benefiting, so it makes sense for us to install it now whilst our engineers are in your area.

Will my electricity supply be disrupted when you change the meter?

We’ll need to interrupt your supply, your electricity will only be off for half an hour. The complete installation process will take just one hour. We’re keen to minimise any disruption to your business, so we’ll discuss this with you when we book the installation appointment.

Will the meter change affect my bills?

The price you pay for your electricity won’t change. However, your bills will be more regular and accurate after we’ve fitted the new meter. When our engineer installs the smart meter, he/she’ll simply record the final reading on your old meter and take an opening reading from the new meter. There’ll be a smooth transition because your next bill will show two sets of readings.

Will you be replacing my gas meter as well?

Not at the moment. Gas meters aren’t included in our current upgrade programme.

Will you keep my business information safe?

Yes. Your meter readings and any other information about your business that our engineer collects during the installation process will be stored securely and won’t be released to any third parties.

I've been told I can't have a smart meter yet - why's this?

We're in the early days of installing smart meters, so you might be able to get one depending on where you live, the strength of the mobile phone signal in your area and a few other things.

If you're not able to have a smart meter yet, you can register your interest as soon as we're able to install your meter, we'll contact you to let you know. In the meantime, take a look at our Energy Toolkit for information about the energy you use and how it can help you take control of your bills.

Why do you need to know where my current meters are located?

By telling us where your meters are located, this'll help us understand if we're able to fit a smart meter for you at the moment, as we're currently unable to install meters in certain places, such as a communal cupboard in a shared building, or an outside gas meter box if it's in the ground.

This information will also help our technician prepare for the installation on the day of your appointment.

Why do you need to know how high my current meter is?

If your current meter is over eight feet high (a bit higher than a doorframe) we'll need to arrange a special appointment for two of our technicians to come and install your new smart meter for you.

Why do you need to know if there's anyone aged 18 or over present when you come to install my new smart meter?

We're legally required to make sure someone aged 18 or over is present at the time of the installation. If there isn't an adult presence at the time you'd like your smart meter to be installed we won't be able to fit your smart meter.

Why do you need to know where you can park when you visit to install my new smart meter?

On the day of your smart meter installation, our technician will need to park their vehicle close to your premises due to the kit they need to bring with them to fit your meters. If there's no parking at your premises or on the road nearby, we'll need to arrange a special appointment.

Why do you need to know if I have a three-phase supply?

Unfortunately we're unable to install a smart meter for you at the moment if you've currently got a meter with a three-phase supply. We'll register your interest in smart meters and once we're able to fit a smart meter for you we'll get in touch to let you know.

You can find out if you've got a three-phase supply by checking your current meter, or by calling your local distribution company.

Why do you need to know if I have a shared supply?

If your meter supplies more than one premise, such as another business or a residential property, we're currently unable to install a smart meter for you. We'll register your interest in smart meters and once we're able to fit a smart meter for you we'll get in touch to let you know.

How can I cancel my smart meter installation appointment?

If you need to cancel your appointment please give us a call on 0333 202 4865. We're open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.