Over the next few years, gas and electricity suppliers will offer to fit the latest generation of gas and electricity meters in every home in England, Scotland and Wales. This is part of the government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions, as smart meters are designed to help households keep track of the amount of energy they’re using and see where they may be wasting energy. How? Well, smart meters come with an in-home display (IHD) that you can put anywhere, which shows you how much gas or electricity you’re using, in real time, and how much it costs.
Once you get used to seeing your usual energy habits on the IHD, you can quickly spot when a reading is abnormally high, meaning you may have left some appliance plugged in or light on when it’s not needed. Seeing in pounds and pence what you’re using each day, week and month gives you more control over what you’re spending.
Another big advantage is: no more estimated bills. A smart meter sends your energy readings straight to your supplier. They don’t have to come and read your meter, and you don’t have to contact them (especially handy if you don’t like using phones because of your hearing loss).
If you’re a smart prepay customer, you can top up by computer or mobile phone – there’s no need to go to your local shop. You can also use the information the smart meter gives you about how much you’re spending on energy to decide if you’d be better off with another supplier. You can then change supplier if you want to.
So, how do you get a smart meter? Simply contact your energy supplier to arrange the installation. If you’re deaf or have hearing loss, let your supplier know and they can support you during the installation process as appropriate.
Daniel Webster, from Essex, who is Deaf and uses British Sign Language, had a smart meter installed in May 2016. He told us:
"Initially, I had a smart meter installed because I’m quite techy and like to keep up with the latest gadgets, but I thought it seemed like a good way to keep tabs on the money I spent on gas and electricity. Living in a house with my wife and our one-year-old, our energy bills can be quite high, especially in winter, so it’s useful to know exactly how much I’m spending every month.