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      Smart meters explained

      Are you thinking of having a smart meter installed? Action on Hearing Loss has teamed up with Smart Energy GB, the campaign for a smarter Britain, to give people who are deaf or have hearing loss information about what smart meters are and how they can be of benefit.

      By: Luke Penwald | 11 December 2018

      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.

      Daniel Webster

      The installation through my supplier was completely straightforward – I told them beforehand I was Deaf, and gave them instructions to text me on arrival, which they did.

      The smart meter is very easy to use and, because it automatically sends my meter readings through to my energy supplier, it means I don’t have to. I’m not sure if I’ve made any real savings, but having a smart meter has definitely made me more aware of what I’m spending, so when I can see my bill creeping up, I start to switch off lights and turn down radiators!"

      Contact your energy supplier today to find out more.

      More information

      Smart Energy GB is a not-for-profit company created to provide an independent voice for consumers. Its task is to support the rollout of smart meters so that everyone has the opportunity to share in the benefits that they bring for households, our economy and our environment. Smart Energy GB isn’t selling smart meters (smart meters come at no extra cost), and doesn’t install them – that’s done by the energy suppliers.

      Smart Energy GB has produced a helpful leaflet about the smart meter rollout. You can download the leaflet, or watch a BSL translation, on our website.

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