Smart meter alert as Britons ‘have to be proactive’ to slash energy bills – act now

This Morning: Martin Lewis helps caller with smart meter

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As the cost of energy in the UK continues to rise, more and more homes are installing smart meters to try and save money on their bill. The increase in installations is also due to a Government scheme. The smart meter roll-out started in 2016, and there was a pledge in the Conservative Party’s 2017 election manifesto that every household and business would be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020. This was extended to 2025 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the Government estimated that the installation of smart meters will help people save around £16billion in energy costs annually by 2050.

Smart meters automatically send readings to a person’s supplier meaning they can bill more accurately.

They also have an at-home display so people can see what they are using. Citizens Advice states that there is no “upfront costs” for installing an energy meter.

This is because they are paid for through everyone’s energy bills, just as old-style meters are.

However, Citizens Advice states that having a smart meter won’t “automatically” save a person money on their bills.

Citizens Advice said: “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.”

Research conducted by the gas installation firm Boiler Central and shared with Express Online last week showed that using a smart meter could save homes an average of £75.

Citizens Advice guidance page states that a person’s supplier should contact people telling them when they are able to get one.

If they don’t, a person can contact their supplier directly asking for the dates on which they will be eligible.

Citizens Advice states that suppliers are responsible for making sure the smart meters works correctly, and for explaining the process to a person beforehand.

Other things that the supplier will be responsible for are teaching people how to use their smart meter, providing a copy of the instructions to the customer, and explaining how to use energy efficiently.

They should also provide a number to call if anything goes wrong.

Pre-payment smart meters are also available, however, Citizens Advice says that prepayment is “usually a more expensive way of paying for energy”.

The consumer group reminds Britons that smart meters are not compulsory and if a supplier says otherwise, them a person could contact the Citizens Advice helpline.

Energy watchdog Ofgem announced last month that the energy price cap looks set to rise to £2,800 in the Autumn of this year.

This is the second rise Britons will see in the last 12 months with Ofgem increasing the annual energy bill cost by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year.

A recent survey by Smart Energy GB found that almost a third of households with a smart meter were using their in-home display more than usual in the last couple of months due to rising energy bills.

The number of smart meters installed in the UK currently sits at around 20 million according to the GB Data Communications Company (DCC). This figure was reached in May 2022 after four years of installations.

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