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Smart Meters

 

Durham County Council (DCC) is committed to meeting the challenge of Climate Change and in 2019 declared a “Climate Emergency” which has led to a series of initiatives to reduce energy use and carbon emissions in Durham County. DCC see smart meters as a vital tool in reducing costs and carbon emissions as they will ensure that every household in Durham knows how much energy they are using.

DCC are working closely with Smart Energy GB to support the roll out of smart meters in Durham and we are particularly keen to help our older and more vulnerable residents understand this new technology and be confident about making the switch.

Please call 03000 265 258 /259 or email enquiries@warmhomesdurham.co.uk for further information.

What is a smart meter? 

Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters. Gradually, across Great Britain, energy suppliers are replacing the traditional gas and electric meters with new smart meters. 

What makes it so smart?

Instead of waiting for a bill to drop through the letterbox, a smart meter can show you the amount of energy you use, as you use it. Even better, it will display how much you’re spending in pounds and pence.

This makes it easier to spot areas in the home where you may be wasting energy and where you could make changes to reduce it. Not only could you be saving energy, but money too.

 

For example, you can save around £35 a year* just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.

*Data courtesy of the Energy Saving Trust, July 2020

How does it work?

The smart meter sends your gas and electricity readings direct to your energy supplier, so no more rummaging around in a cupboard or letting a stranger into your home to read the meter.

Although the smart meter will replace your existing boxes, the clever technology is housed in a portable in-home display, which can sit in any room you choose (you might have seen one at a friend’s home). This is the unit that shows you how much you’re using, as you use it.

 

For example, on cold winter nights when you might be worried about the cost of turning up the heating, you can stay warm knowing exactly what it’s costing.

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Is it accurate?

Smart meters are more accurate than traditional meters, so you can say goodbye to estimated bills.

What if I’m on prepay?

Because smart meters show you what you’re using in near real-time, there’s no more running out of credit at the most inconvenient times. It also means you can top up whenever it suits you – online, via a mobile or at the shop.

Will it cost me to get a smart meter?

Smart meters are provided for free, so you won’t have to pay for the equipment or the installation.

What if i want to switch supplier?

You can always switch energy supplier no matter what type of meter you have at home.

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All in-home displays are designed to show information in a way that’s easy to understand. However, an ‘accessible’ in-home display has been developed in partnership with the Royal National Institute for the Blind and includes large buttons and
text-to-speech functionality. Anyone wishing to use an accessible in-home display should contact their energy supplier
to find out more.

Is it a hassle to have one installed?

Getting a smart meter is actually quite easy; they’re provided and installed by your energy supplier at a time

that suits you.

Here’s a few important things you’ll need to consider before your installation:

Agree a time and date with your supplier that you can be home for the installation. An installer will never turn up unexpectedly.

 Make sure you know where your current meters are and take steps to ensure they’re accessible for the installer.

The installer should show you a valid identity card upon arrival, which you can ask to see if the installer does not present it upfront.

It takes about two hours and your energy supply will be cut off for a short period, but you’ll need to be present for the installation.

If you’re having a gas meter installed, the installer will perform a visual safety check on your gas appliances.

Once fitted, your installer will show you how to use your in-home display as well as offering energy-saving advice.

How can smart meters benefit Great Britain?

The nation’s electricity needs are expected to double by 2050, so we need to upgrade our outdated energy system. Just by having a smart meter in your home, you’ll be helping the energy system understand where and when energy is needed.

As a result, we can help significantly reduce energy waste across the network as well as upgrading the system and making it fit for the future.

 

So, what next?

Hopefully now, you have a better idea about what smart meters are, how they work and why they make good sense.

So why not speak to a family member or friend about helping you with the next steps. You could be enjoying the benefits of a smart meter very soon.

*Data courtesy of the Energy Saving Trust, July 2020