The smart meter rollout is well underway and a greater number of energy suppliers are offering up installations.
But it can be quite confusing knowing exactly what you are in for when you sign up to receive a smart meter.
It varies depending on where you live, who supplies your energy. Plus, energy suppliers’ policies on smart meters change fairly frequently.
We have put together a comprehensive guide so you know what to expect with a smart meter:
What is a SMETS 1?
SMETS1 are the first generation smart meters. The issue with this type is that different energy companies use different manufacturers to make their SMETS1. Therefore when you switch to a different supplier, you run the risk of your smart meter losing it’s ‘smart’ functions.
It will still supply gas and/or electricity to your home but will not automatically give meter readings to the supplier so you will have to do this yourself again as you will have done with a traditional meter.
All is not lost! All SMETS1 are going to be connected to an interconnected network called the DCC which will mean all smart meter types can ‘talk to one another’ regardless of the manufacturer. The last deadline given for when this will be in place was ‘the end of 2019’.
What is a SMETS2?
SMETS2 are the second generation smart meters. These work slightly differently to SMETS1 in that they are already connected to the smart meter data network meaning fewer issues when you switch supplier.
If you switch to another supplier who is already rolling out smart meters you will not lose your smart functions.
This is an important nuance with smart meters in general. The supplier you switch to must already be rolling out smart meters for you to keep all the benefits of your new meter. We will explain this further later.
Which suppliers are rolling out smart meters?
If you would like to get a smart meter, these are the suppliers rolling them out so far and the type(s) that they are currently offering.
British Gas are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
EDF Energy are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
EON are still rolling out SMETS1 in the North of England and everywhere else in the country are rolling out SMETS2.
Npower are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
Scottish Power are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
SSE are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
Bulb refused to install SMETS1 because they didn’t agree with them but are now rolling out SMETS2. They are rolling them out slightly slower in the North of England. Unfortunately they have had some bad press recently on their meters not working properly.
Co-operative Energy are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
Octopus Energy are still rolling out SMETS1 for people with additional needs (such as people who are not able to read their meter). They are experiencing a shortage of SMETS2 from their manufacturer so have had to suspend their SMETS2 smart meter bookings for the time being.
OVO Energy are still rolling out both types of smart meter. You should specify which kind of meter you would like when organising a smart meter installation.
You also cannot have a SMETS2 if you have a storage heater, underfloor heating or if your meter is in a metal box. (Don’t ask us why!)
Shell Energy are still rolling out both types of smart meter. They said that they will judge whether or not someone is eligible for a SMETS2. Either way, the best thing to do is to specify which type of meter you would like when organising a smart meter installation.
Utilita are still rolling out SMETS1 meters and are not yet doing SMETS2.
Utility Warehouse are no longer rolling out SMETS1 and have started rolling out SMETS2.
Can I switch when I already have a smart meter?
The short answer is, it depends on the type of meter and on the supplier.
Which suppliers can support your existing smart meter when you switch?
|Suppliers who might be able to support SMETS1 when you switch||Suppliers who can support SMETS2 when you switch|
|British Gas||British Gas|
|Scottish Power||Scottish Power|
|Co-operative Energy||Co-operative Energy|
|Ovo Energy||Ovo Energy|
|Shell Energy (formerly First Utility)||Shell Energy (formerly First Utility)|
|Tonik Energy||Tonik Energy|
Suppliers in the first column are installing or have at some point installed SMETs1 meters meaning there is a chance that they will still be able to support your SMETS1 meter when you switch.
Again, it all depends on the manufacturer so it is worth ringing them to check first if it is important to you that your smart meter stays smart.
To the best of our knowledge, you can assume that all other suppliers will not be able to support your SMETS1 meter until the end of 2019 when they all connect to the DCC network.
When we spoke to the suppliers in the second column, they informed us that it may take a little time for your smart meter to be fully active but for all intents and purposes, your smart meter should continue to work when you switch.
As you may have already worked out, these suppliers are already rolling out SMETS2 which is why they are able to support them when you switch to them with an existing SMETS2 in your home.
Should I get a smart meter?
Read our blog here to find out all the advantages and disadvantages of smart meters.