Can anyone get a smart meter?

Can anyone get a smart meter?

Getting a smart meter is an easy process, as long as you’re eligible. But who can and can’t get a smart meter? Let’s find out more.

There are several benefits to getting a smart meter installed in your home or business. 

  • Accurate billing – no more estimated bills
  • Convenience – say goodbye to manual meter readings
  • Real-time energy use information nudges you towards saving energy – great for your bank account and the planet

But, before you sign up to get one, you should check to see whether you are eligible. Most people in the UK can get a smart meter, but not everyone will be able to. 

In this article, we’ll talk about who can get a smart meter. We’ll also bust a few myths for those who may think they can’t get one, but actually can.

To find out whether you’re eligible for a smart meter, here are six things to consider.

1 – Your energy supplier

This is possibly the most critical factor in deciding whether or not you can get a smart meter. Unfortunately, many energy suppliers in the UK, especially smaller providers, do not work with smart meters. 

If you’re with any of the larger suppliers such as British Gas, E.on or EDF, you will be able to get a smart meter installed. In fact, they should have already invited you to claim your smart meter. However, if you’re with one of the smaller suppliers, you should check with them to see if they’ll give you a smart meter. If they don’t supply smart meters and it’s a deal-breaker for you, you may want to switch to a supplier that will.

It’s also important to know that there is no smart meter rollout in Northern Ireland as there is in the rest of the UK. So you may find it harder to get a smart meter if you live there.

2 – Do you own or rent your property?

If you own your property, it’s simple; you can get a smart meter.

If you rent, it might be a bit trickier. Technically, if you pay the bills and you have an account with an energy supplier, you can ask to get a smart meter installed. However, it’s recommended that you let your landlord know that you’re doing it. There may be clauses in your rental agreement that forbid altering anything to do with your energy supply. If you violate these rules, you could be in trouble. 

If your landlord receives the bills for your rental property, whether or not to get a smart meter is entirely up to them, not you.

3 – Are you a prepayment customer?

Some people pay for their energy as they go using prepayment meters. This type of meter is often found in flats and student accommodation blocks. If you are a prepayment customer and you want to get a smart meter, the good news is that smart prepayment meters exist. Ask your supplier if you can get one installed.

When you get your smart prepayment meter, you’ll gain several benefits over and above the universal benefits of smart meters:

  • It’s the same meter as a standard credit smart meter, so if you want to switch to a regular account, it’s just a simple software update
  • You can top up using an app or by going online, rather than having to go to a shop
  • You can set up alerts to let you know when your prepayment is running low, and it’s time to top up

4 – What tariff are you on?

Not all energy tariffs are compatible with smart meters, so if you want a smart meter, you need to make sure you’re on the right tariff.

For example, not all suppliers currently offer smart meters to Economy 7 customers. Economy 7 meters work on a special tariff that charges you a different price per unit of electricity depending on when you use it. During seven hours overnight, your energy is cheaper than during the day.

However, it’s good news for customers who can get smart meters on their Economy 7 tariff, as the smart meter makes sending readings back to the supplier completely automatic.

5 – How do you get your energy?

Most of us get our energy from the National Grid. Smart meters are tailor-made for consumers of this conventional source of energy. But what about those who don’t? Some people have solar panels, or maybe get their energy from another source, such as heat pumps.

It’s best to check for your individual energy source, but having a smart meter is a must if you have solar panels. Smart meters are the hub of information that help your solar panel system run. For example, if you supply solar energy you don’t use back to the grid, your smart meter decides how much you get paid for it.

6 – Are you a homeowner or a business?

So far, we’ve only talked about getting smart meters in residential properties. But what about if you would like a smart meter for your business premises?

If you run a small business with ten employees or fewer, you’re probably eligible for a smart meter. If you’re renting or leasing your building and your energy bills are included in your rent, you need to ask your landlord about a smart meter.

How to get one

Now you know whether you’re eligible, it’s time to get moving and start reaping the rewards of having a smart meter. Fortunately, it couldn’t be easier. Simply call your supplier, arrange a date and time for an installer to visit, and it’s job done. The installation should only take a couple of hours.

Enjoy your smart meter!

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