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9 smart meter myths - busted!

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By Olly Rose
Sep 21, 2021

Here at Ecotricity, we’re big fans of smart meters because they’re part of the solution to the climate crisis. As Britain’s greenest energy provider we turn your bills into mills and create new sources of sustainable energy.

Smart meters help us to understand where and when our customers need energy, and they help you to see what you’re using and cut where you can. That’s good for the planet and your pocket.

As is often the case with issues around the environment and the climate crisis, there’s a lot of misinformation around smart meters disadvantages.

The great news is that it’s all nonsense, so if you’re concerned about getting a smart meter or know someone who is, here’s our list of the top 9 smart meter myths – busted.

9 smart meter myths – busted

1. Are smart meters expensive?
No. We won’t charge you for having a smart meter or the in-home display unit. You won’t have to pay for installation either. Smart meters are being installed in homes across Britain for free. If you’re an Ecotricity customer and haven’t got a smart meter yet, we’ll be in touch soon to let you know when we’re ready to install yours.

2. Is radiation from smart meters harmful?
No. Smart meters give off less radio energy than mobile phones and you don’t keep them in your pocket. The smart meters we install have been tested to meet and exceed all UK safety standards.

The UK government did intensive research into safety before giving the green light to smart meters. Public Health England reviewed the evidence and concluded that exposure to low-level radio waves from smart meters pose no health risks.

3. Can smart meters spy on me?
No. Smart meters measure the energy you use and that’s it. Security is an important part of our smart meter programme:

• Smart meters don’t connect to the public internet – they operate on a secure, private system.

• Smart meters store information about how much electricity and gas you use, but don’t store any personal details such as your name, contact information or bank details.

• No one apart from your energy supplier can see details about your usage without your consent.

4. Do smart meters need the internet to work?
No. Smart meters use their own SIM cards, the same technology that your mobile phone uses. They don’t use your broadband or wi-fi and readings are sent over a safe, dedicated wireless network.

5. If I get a smart meter, am I tied to one energy company forever?
No. The latest second-generation smart meters (SMETS2) allow hassle-free switching with an uninterrupted service.

Even if you have an older model (the SMETS1), you can still change supplier but you might have to do a manual meter reading once or twice while the transition takes place.

6. Are smart meters bad for the environment?
No. We wouldn’t be offering them if that was the case. In fact, they’re part of the journey to building a greener Britain.

With your smart meter display, it’ll be easy for you to see what energy you’re using and when, and how much it’s costing, so you can make changes to your usage.

Smart meters also help build up a picture of the whole country’s energy usage, which is crucial for making energy production and consumption as green as possible.

7. Can I only get a smart meter if I own my home?
No. There’s no reason why people who rent can’t get a smart meter installed. Speak to your landlord first to make sure you're not breaking your tenancy agreement.

8. Do smart meters use lots of energy?
No. Smart meters barely cost anything to run. The display unit uses an estimated £1 of energy per year but any changes you make to your usage will cover that in no time.

9. Can I buy a smart meter on the internet and fit it myself?
No. You can’t buy smart meters and install them yourself. Attempting to do so could be very dangerous.

You can buy things called energy monitors to install at home. These sound like they’re the same as smart meter displays but they’re not. They monitor energy usage but can’t link to your tariff or send automatic meter readings.

Why should I get a smart meter?
If you don’t have one, your smart meters will be free – there’s no cost for having one or getting it installed. And there are plenty of other smart meter advantages – here are our top four.

If you are a current Ecotricity customer and want to find out more about our SMETS2 rollout, head over to our Smart Meters FAQ section

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