Smart meters could slash energy bills – what to do if you find smart meter is not working

Smart Meters: uSwitch explains how devices work in 2018

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The devices provide constant readings, so consumers can see how much gas and electricity they are using and how much it costs. The smart kit also automatically sends the readings to the supplier, so customers don’t have to send off readings manually.

Express.co.uk has spoken to several experts to get their views on how to get the most out of smart meters, and what to do if they stop working.

Will Owen, energy saving expert at Uswitch.com, said that the devices are an “easy way” for people to keep on top of their energy use.

He said: “You can check your meter as you turn on various appliances, like your dishwasher or washing machine, and you should get a good idea of how much energy they are using.

“Customers with a first-generation smart meter may have problems with their device not working when they move to a new supplier.

“If you find this happens to you, talk to your new supplier as soon as you have moved over and they will be able to help you.

“Knowing what energy you’re using can help you adjust your behaviour — for instance, turning the thermostat down by one degree can save up to £130 a year.”

The Government has claimed that smart meters could help 80 percent of users to reduce their energy usage.

Mr Owen said: “How much they will help consumers save depends on how closely people pay attention to their energy use, and if they then take steps to reduce it.”

British households can request a smart meter for free, from their energy supplier.

Heather Critchlow, Development Manager at the National Energy Action Project, explained in more detail how the devices work.

She said: “Along with a smart meter, you’ll be offered an in-home display, which tells you in near real time how much you are spending.

“This can help you budget and identify ways you might be able to reduce your energy costs.

“For instance, the in-home display shows you when an appliance has been left switched on and how much it costs.

“Having a smart meter also means that your meter readings are sent directly to your energy supplier, so you’ll receive accurate rather than estimated bills.”

Smart meter users can switch suppliers, although this may cause problems with the meter.

Ms Critchlow said: “Sometimes, this can lead to your smart meter no longer sending automatic meter readings to your new supplier.”

Citizens Advice has an online tool for consumers to check if their meter is working as it should.

Meters can stop working and go into ‘dumb mode’ for several reasons, including the consumer actively opting out of the scheme.

If a device has stopped suddenly working, the user can contact the supplier to fix the issue.

Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com, spoke about the benefits of smart meters.

He said: “The logic is that if customers have real-time information about how much gas and electricity they’re using, they’ll be able to change their energy consumption – saving energy and money too.

“Energy suppliers also benefit in the long term, because the process is faster and more accurate, removing the need to send updated bills and reducing the number of meter readings done.”

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