Getting a smart meter installed
Smart meters are a new kind of gas and electricity meter gradually being introduced across Britain as part of a government scheme.
A smart meter can automatically send meter readings to your supplier, meaning they can bill you accurately for the energy you’ve used.
You won’t have to pay upfront to have a smart meter installed - smart meters will be paid for through everyone’s energy bills, just as old-style meters are.
A smart meter won’t automatically save you money
You’ll have to be proactive to reduce your energy costs. The best way to do this is to use the digital ‘in-home’ display that you’ll be offered with a smart meter to keep track of how much energy you’re using. You can then try to reduce it. Read more about saving money on your energy bills.
When you’ll get a smart meter
Your supplier should contact you to tell you exactly when you can get one. If they don't, you can contact them to ask when that might be.
If you get a new meter installed or an old meter replaced, your supplier will probably give you a smart meter.
You can contact your supplier to see whether they’ll install one in your home as soon as possible.
Refusing a smart meter
You don’t have to accept a smart meter if you don’t want one. If your supplier tells you that you must have one installed, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
If you refuse a smart meter, you might find it hard to access all tariffs. This is because in future the cheaper tariffs offered by suppliers might only be available to customers with smart meters.
You can ask your supplier to switch off your smart meter's extra functionality. This means it’ll work in the same way as your current meter, and won’t send any information to your supplier. Your supplier will only switch off the extra functionality in exceptional circumstances - contact them to check if they can do this.
If you have a smart meter, you can still switch energy supplier. Before you switch, it's a good idea to check if your meter will work in 'smart mode' after switching.
Smart mode means your meter automatically sends readings to your supplier.
Some suppliers can't support smart mode yet, so they'll ask you to send meter readings yourself.
Check if your meter can work in smart mode after switching using our tool.
If you decide to get a smart meter
Your supplier is responsible for installing your smart meter and making sure it works properly - they should:
- explain the process beforehand
- show you how to use your smart meter
- give you a copy of the instructions
- tell you how to use energy efficiently
They should also give you a number to call if anything goes wrong, or if you think your meter isn’t working properly. For example if you can’t see usage details on your in-home display.
Your smart meter can be set up as a prepayment meter. If yours is prepayment, your energy supplier will give you a top-up card or key. You can:
top up at a local shop or Post Office using your top-up card or key
top up online or through an app on your mobile phone
If you top up online, you should still keep your card or key in case you need to use it - for example, if the app isn't working.
Prepayment is usually a more expensive way of paying for energy. Check if prepayment is right for you.
Coronavirus - if you're getting a meter installed in your home
If you’re ill, self-isolating, or worried about a home visit, tell your supplier. You should be able to rearrange the meter installation.
If your supplier can’t finish the installation
They should tell you what the problem is and rearrange the installation. They also need to make sure your meter is safe before they leave.
You can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you have any issues with smart meters.
Smart Energy GB has more information about the benefits of smart meters and how they should be installed.