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Ecotricity Explains: Smart meters

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By Imogen Ford
15 Apr 2024

Smart meters aren’t just good for helping you budget - they also have a key part to play in the path to net zero.

What is a smart meter?

Put quite simply, a smart meter is just the latest type of energy meter for gas and electricity. The ‘smart’ in its name just refers to its ability to send your meter readings to your energy supplier remotely across a secure, encrypted network.

smart meters elec

Smart meters measure your energy consumption just like traditional meters do. Your smart meter will send your meter readings to your energy supplier at least once a month, so that they can accurately bill you for the energy you’ve used. Most of the time, your smart meter will send readings on a daily basis, helping to provide a clear picture of your energy usage so that your supplier can provide a more accurate estimate of your monthly and annual electricity usage. This helps to provide an EAC (Estimated Annual Consumption), which they can base your projected annual cost on using your tariff details.

When you have a smart meter, you’ll also have an In Home Display (IHD). This display unit can be plugged in somewhere in your home where you’ll be able to access it easily, and gives you an idea of your energy usage in near-real time.

smart meters ihd

Smart meters are free, so they’re a simple change you can make to green up your house.

Helping people and planet

Smart meters keep track of when and where energy is being used, helping us to balance supply and demand. As a result, we can better predict how much energy is needed, meaning we waste less energy.

Smart meters also reduce the need for manual meter readings, so we don’t need to send agents out to take readings as often as before. That’s a huge saving in carbon footprint from the agents driving from house to house!

Plus, they allow you to pinpoint where and when you might be using more energy than you expected, allowing you to be more energy efficient.

Still need convincing? Smart Energy GB estimate that if we all had smart meters, Britain could save the same amount of CO2 as 70 million trees!

Are they really secure?

Yes - the only information they record and send to your supplier is your meter readings. They’ve been designed with cyber security experts from the government and GCHQ, so your security really is a priority. The smart system has also been designed to prevent hacking, and the meters don’t even use the internet - instead, they use their own secure, closed communications system. In short - they’re definitely secure!

Check out our smart meter myth busting blog here.

Ready to get your smart meter? Just give our team a call on 0345 555 7100 and we’ll get our third-party engineers in touch.

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