Looking for ways to save energy and reduce your energy bills? Smart meters allow you to keep track of your energy usage and how much you are spending.
They also help us to create a smarter energy grid – allowing us to be more precise about your energy needs. In fact, by 2035 the UK transition to smart meters could reduce CO2 emissions by around 25% compared to 2015 levels¹.
Check out our simple guide to using your smart meter and you could improve your energy efficiency at home, as well as help the UK reach its net zero targets.
How to use your smart meter.
When it comes to using your smart meter to save energy, it is mainly the In Home Display (IHD) you will be using rather than the meter itself.
The IHD is the plug in display that connects to your smart meter. It does not need WiFi or a mobile network to connect. Once it is set up, you can view a live update on your energy use and how much you are spending each day.
The smart meter itself securely sends automatic meter readings at regular intervals to your energy company. You can set how frequently the meter readings are sent on your online account. They can be as often as every half hour to not at all. So, you will rarely need to interact with the actual smart meter yourself.
Need help with your In Home Display? Find answers to common questions, and guides on how to use each model of IHD.
How can smart meters help save energy and money?
Installing a smart meter can:
Ensure you are billed accurately for only the energy you use. Regular meter readings sent automatically by your smart meter can eliminate the need for estimated billing, so you know exactly what you are paying.
Allow you to track activities and times of day when you are using more energy with a live visualisation of your energy use. This enables you to make informed changes to your habits to reduce your energy bills.
Show you what you are spending, not just what you are using. Your IHD displays how much the energy you are using is costing you, so you can track your spending each day and budget more effectively.
Help make the grid smarter by providing up to date data on energy demands around the country. This allows energy to be directed where it is needed more accurately - improving energy efficiency across the UK in order to reduce carbon emissions².
Top energy saving tips if you have a smart meter.
Set a budget on your IHD.
This is usually done through the settings on your device. Your budget could be daily, weekly or monthly and you decide the amount. Setting a budget works like a target. It will not cut off your energy if you go over your budget, but it allows you to keep track of your spending to help motivate you to reduce your energy use. If your smart meter is set to prepayment it will also automatically alert you when it is time to top up, whether you set a budget or not.
Learn your energy habits.
By tracking your energy use using your IHD you can better understand your energy habits. Try monitoring which times of day or days of the week you use the most energy to learn which activities are the most energy intensive. Take a look at our energy saving tips for ideas on how to build more efficient energy habits.
Combine with solar panels.
If you have solar panels you will likely need to get a smart meter in order to receive Smart Export Guarantee payments for the electricity you export to the grid. You can also use the IHD to keep track of whether you are paying for your energy or using your free electricity generated by the solar panels. This is a great way to learn how to better schedule your habits to reduce your bills. Plus, it means you can maximise your use of clean, renewable solar power. Find out more about the benefits of solar panels for your home.
Take part in the demand flexibility service.
If you have a smart meter that is set to send half hourly meter readings then you could be eligible to take part in the National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service events through your energy company. These events encourage customers to reduce their energy use for short periods at peak times by paying them based on how much they reduce their usage. Therefore, you can save money on your bill by using less energy, plus earn extra for your efforts. Even better, by taking part you are helping to prevent polluting coal generators from needing to be used by the grid.
Do smart meters use energy?
Smart meters do use a small amount of electricity to run. You are never charged for the electricity the smart meter itself uses to function, nor will that energy show in your energy use.
Your IHD also uses a very small amount of electricity, but by making use of it effectively you could save much more energy than it uses. If necessary, you can unplug the IHD without affecting the functioning of your smart meter. However, the IHD itself only works whilst plugged in.
Make your home smarter with a smart meter.
Switching to a smart meter means you can see exactly what you are spending on your energy in real time. Knowledge is power when it comes to powering your home, so take control of your energy use and make budgeting a cinch. Together we can reduce energy bills as well as carbon emissions. Find out how you can get a smart meter for your home.
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