Imagine being offered something that won’t cost you a penny to install, that’s simple to use and that can help you to save money. With those sort of credentials, it’s tempting to ask: “where’s the catch?” But in the case of smart meters, there really isn’t one.
Which is good to know, because under a new initiative to upgrade our ageing energy system, every household will be offered smart meters by their energy supplier between now and 2020, and that’s true whether you own or rent your home. It’s worth contacting your supplier to see if you can get one as soon as possible. If you’re a British Gas customer, you can book your smart meter installation free of charge right now or register your interest in smart meters.
Smart meters do away with manual meter readings
Smart meters automatically send your energy supplier your meter readings - so you don’t have to. That means no more estimated energy bills and no more need to read your own meters or have a meter reader read them for you.
Your supplier will use the information to prepare your bill. And you will only ever be charged for the energy you actually use.
Smart meters will allow you to take charge of your bills
No more meter readings and accurate bills are in themselves great reasons to have smart meters, but they aren’t the only ones. Smart meters come with a free smart energy monitor, which uses a simple digital display to show exactly how much energy you are using in pounds and pence - a language we can all understand. It won’t give you a running total of your bill but will tot up, in almost real time, the amount of energy you’ve used. By showing gas and electricity use in pounds and pence, and in a way everyone can all relate to, smart meters let you take control of the energy you use, putting you in charge. When you turn on an energy-guzzling appliance, you will be able to see almost instantly how much it is costing you.
And that in turn makes it easy to see the difference that simple actions can make, whether that’s turning a light off after leaving a room or turning the central heating down a degree or two. If you want or need to save money on your energy bills - and who doesn’t? - you can use this information to put a realistic and achievable energy-saving plan into action.
For instance, once you see how much energy the oven uses, you might be more diligent in sticking to exact cooking times and making sure you only preheat the oven for as long as it needs. Similarly, check the smart energy monitor while somebody is in the shower or filling the bath and you might realise that cutting a shower short by a minute or two and making baths a bit shallower are easy changes that can make a real financial difference in the long run.
Smart meters supply information that can help to educate your family
Don’t forget to get the rest of the family involved in your energy-saving plan too. Children might not have much concept of energy prices, but smart meters can help to teach them that wasting energy has a financial cost, and that saving it means there is more money for other things.
When you reduce your energy consumption, the savings aren’t just financial. Smart meters are a great way to help us all be a little bit greener. When everybody in the country is using smart meters to work out where they can save energy, the result could be a real reduction in Great Britain’s carbon footprint.
As you’ll see when you start using your own smart meters, that’s because doing lots of little things can add up to a big difference. Having smart meters installed is the first step to really taking control of your energy use, and putting a plan in place that can help you save energy and lower your bills.
Visit the British Gas website to find out more about how smart meters can benefit your family. Or if you’re already a British Gas customer, you can register your interest or book your installation.