What is a Smart meter?

If you're considering getting a Smart meter, or just want to find out the benefits of a Smart meter, you're in the right place. Because at Co-op Energy, we're all about transparency. So we've created this handy page to make everything you need to know about Smart meters crystal clear.

From explaining how Smart meters communicate with your energy supplier, to answering your FAQs, it's all here at your fingertips. And the first thing to find out is what a Smart meter actually is: 

1

They’re the next generation of gas and electricity meters

2

They have a secure connection to your energy provider

3

They show how much gas and electricity you’re using in real time

4

By 2020, the government wants every home to have one

What are the benefits?

We love Smart meters at Co-op Energy, because they make customer bills more fair and accurate. Plus, they help us to be more transparent.

Click the button below to check out all the other amazing Smart meter benefits.

See all the benefits

How do Smart meters work?

Smart meters are made up of four parts. The first two parts simply replace your existing meters, and measure how much gas and electricity you’re using. The other two parts are a little bit smarter…

Smart gas meter

The Smart gas meter works in a very similar way to your existing gas meter. The only difference is that the Smart meter will generate readings automatically, before sending them to a communications hub in your home.

Smart electricity meter

A Smart electricity meter also works just like your existing one. But again, rather than having to read it yourself, the Smart meter will automatically share readings with your communications hub, where they can be passed on to us.

Communications hub

The Smart meter communications hub sits in your home and allows information to be shared between your meters, your in-home display, and your energy company. It does this using the Smart Meter Wide Area Network (SM WAN), which works either via the internet or long-range radio.

In-home display

This portable digital screen shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using in real time, as well as how much it’s costing in pounds and pence. You can also see how your energy usage has changed over the last day, week, month, and year, which can help you to manage your bills.

FAQs

How to get a Smart meter

Thanks to a government initiative, every household in the UK can get a free Smart meter from their energy provider. If you’re a Co-op Energy customer, you will soon be able to get a Co-op Energy Smart meter. Watch this space for more information.

Are Smart meters safe?

Smart meters use radio waves to communicate, just like TVs and mobile phones. Public Health England says that there is no evidence to suggest that the low-level waves emitting from smart meters do us any damage. Smart meters also have to pass both UK and EU product safety legislation, so they are perfectly safe to use. (Source: Public Health England)

Do Smart meters need internet?

No, Smart meters don’t need WiFi to work. They use a separate and secure WAN network, similar to the one used by your mobile phone, to communicate with us. This is highly unlikely to interfere with your home WiFi signal.

How to read a Smart meter

You don’t have to! One big benefit of Smart meters is that they send readings to us automatically. If you’d like to check your usage yourself, you can do this by looking at the digital display on the front of your meter. You may have to wait for it to cycle through a few screens before you reach your meter reading. Alternatively, just check your historical usage on your in-home display screen.

How much can I save with a Smart meter?

According to a government estimate, the average household will save 3% on their energy bill by 2030 – which equates to £43 a year. However, if your Smart meter changes your energy usage habits significantly, you could be saving much more than that. (Source: Commons Select Committee)

Why is my energy provider offering Smart meters?

In the hope of making energy bills more fair and transparent, the UK government has asked energy suppliers to make sure every home in the country has a Smart meter by 2020. And the good news is, they’re absolutely free.