Getting a smart meter installed

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

A smart meter can automatically send gas and electricity meter readings to your supplier, meaning they can bill you accurately for the energy you’ve used. You can change how often readings are sent.

You won’t have to pay to have a smart meter installed.

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 (IHD) 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 install your smart meter with the extra functionality switched off. This means it’ll work in the same way as your current meter, and won’t send any information to your supplier. Contact your supplier to check if they can do this.

If your supplier tells you your meter has expired and needs replacing with a smart meter, it’s worth checking before you agree.

If your supplier says your electricity meter has expired

Your electricity meter has an expiry date. This is because your meter can become less accurate over time and you might get incorrect bills.

To check when your electricity meter expires, you’ll need:

  • your electricity meter ‘certification date’ - you’ll find this printed on your meter

  • the make and model of your electricity meter

Check how long your meter is certified for by searching the make and model of your electricity meter on GOV.UK.

Column C tells you how long your meter is certified for in years. You’ll need to add these years to your certification date. This will give you the date that your meter expires.


Nasreen’s certification date for her electricity meter is 18 March 2004. The meter was certified for 20 years. This means Nasreen’s meter expired on 18 March 2024.

If your supplier says your gas meter has expired

Your gas meter doesn't have an expiry date. If you’ve been told that your gas meter has expired and needs replacing, ask for more details. 

There might be another reason your supplier wants to replace your gas meter. For example, there might be a known problem with your type of gas meter - although this is very rare.

If you aren’t happy with your supplier's reason for wanting to change your gas meter, you should complain to your supplier.

If you need to replace your old-style meter because it’s unsafe, you might not be able to refuse a smart meter. This is because not many old-style meters are made now - your supplier might not have any in stock.

If you’re having your electricity meter replaced with a smart meter, you could consider having your gas meter replaced with a smart gas meter at the same time.

Switching supplier

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.

Check if your meter can work in smart mode after switching using our tool.

If you decide to get a smart meter

Book an appointment with your supplier to install a smart meter.

Your supplier should offer you an appointment as soon as they can. This depends on how urgent your appointment is and how busy they are.

Appointments are usually within normal working hours. Working hours usually means between 9am and 5pm. You usually have to choose a time slot between 2 and 4 hours.

If they offer an appointment that doesn't work for you, ask for a different date and time. Your supplier should say yes if they can.

Your supplier must pay you compensation if they:

  • miss the appointment

  • change the appointment without your agreement and with less than 1 working day’s notice

  • send someone without the right qualifications or tools to do the work

They’ll pay you £30 compensation within 10 working days. If they haven’t paid within 10 working days, they’ll pay you another £30.

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 and in-home display

  • 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, over the phone or through an app on your mobile phone

You might also be able to top up using the screen of your in-home display - check with your supplier if you can do this.

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.

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.

Choose how often you send readings to your supplier

If you get a smart meter installed it will be automatically set to send readings to your supplier:

  • every half hour for electricity

  • every month for gas

You can change how often your smart meter sends readings. You can do this on your online account or by calling your supplier. You can choose:

  • every day for electricity

  • every day or every half hour for gas

If you choose the half-hourly readings you might get access to some new tariffs. For example, time-of-use tariffs use the readings to charge different rates at different times of day.

If your electricity smart meter was installed before 3 November 2022

Your electricity smart meter will have been set to send meter readings once a day. You will have been able to change the settings to send readings every half hour or once a month.

If you've made certain changes since 3 November 2022, your smart meter will have been switched to the same settings as meters installed since that date. Changes that reset your meter are:

  • switching supplier

  • switching tariff

  • agreeing to send readings more often

After you make any of the changes your smart meter will be set to send meter readings every half hour. You can only change the settings to send readings once a day.

Get help

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone, online chat or by email.

Smart Energy GB has more information about the benefits of smart meters and how they should be installed.

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