Smart Meter Benefits - An Ecotricity customer's perspective
Since the energy crisis began, our founder Dale Vince has continued to call out the fundamental issues with Britain’s energy system that have led us here, and how to fix them – by radically ramping up investment in renewable energy generation.
Within this renewables revolution, smart meters have a vital role to play in making our energy grid greener, and yes – smarter.
If everyone in Britain used a smart meter, we’d be able to get a far clearer idea of the country’s energy usage – which would be a crucial step in making our energy generation and consumption as green as possible as a nation.
That’s the big picture benefit of smart meters. But what are the upsides for individuals wanting to keep track of their home energy use?
We spoke to Will – an Ecotricity customer who’s opted for a smart meter – to find out. Here, he shares with us what he feels are the main benefits to him of having a smart meter in his home.
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter is a new generation of electricity and gas meter that we install free-of-charge for any of our customers who would like one.
It uses a SIM card to automatically send meter readings to your energy supplier, in real time – which means no more estimated bills. You only pay for the energy you use, and you no longer have to remember to send in meter readings.
You can also keep tabs on your ‘live’ energy consumption through the smart meter’s in-home display (IHD), so you can see what you are using and when. While a smart meter won’t automatically save you money, what it can do is help you rethink your habits, and use less energy.
Will’s smart meter benefits for customers
1. Becoming more energy aware
Getting a smart meter has helped Will become far more aware of his energy supply – how much he’s using at home from hour-to-hour, and its impact, without having to be an energy expert.
The smart meter’s in-home display (IHD) is really helpful here, showing you how much energy you’re using at any given point, and what that equates to in pennies and pounds, so you’re always informed.
2. Pay only for what you use
Another thing Will likes about his smart meter, is that he no longer gets estimated energy bills.
Knowing that the smart meter is automatically communicating meter readings to Ecotricity in real-time, makes him feel reassured that he’ll only get billed for the exact amount he uses.
3. Changing habits can help
Having a smart meter has made Will even more conscious about where he can think about reducing energy use at home, where possible.
He’s seen a difference to his usage by not leaving any electronics and appliances in standby mode – something the Energy Saving Trust estimates could save people around £35 a year – switching plugs off at night, and turning the lights off whenever he leaves a room.
4. Finding your energy baseline
Will has also found using a smart meter a potentially useful way to budget. Getting a clear idea of how much energy you use, by keeping an eye on your smart meter’s in-home display, can help you find your current footprint – and see if there’s anything you can do to work towards a smaller one.
Beyond Will’s benefits, in future, smart meters will also allow you to take advantage of advanced time-of-use tariffs.
Once these are available, customers with smart meters will automatically be able to lower their bills by using green energy at cheaper times – helping to fight the climate crisis by using or powering up energy-intensive appliances, such as electric vehicles, when there’s lots of renewable energy available.
Getting a smart meter in will also pave the way to take part in our completely new Smart Export Tariff when it becomes available. This will give Ecotricity customers with at-home solar panels the chance to sell surplus solar energy to us, for our green supplies.
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