Everyone hates giving meter readings.
They’ve been a necessary evil for decades, however (and as most of you are probably already aware), Smart meters are appearing on walls across the country to do away with readings, estimates and incorrect bills. And that’s only part of how they can make your relationship with energy a little bit easier…
What is a Smart Meter?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ll have some sort of meter in your home. If it’s electricity, gas, two-rate, three-rate, prepay, it doesn’t matter - all these can be replaced by a Smart meter.
If you haven’t got a Smart meter yet, your current meter will be what’s referred to as a ‘dumb’ meter. This means you’ll have to give your supplier monthly meter readings, so they’re able to send you bills based on the amount of energy you use. This is where Smart meters are a bit…well…smarter.
Smart meters are linked to a central industry-controlled database called the Smart DCC. This is then linked directly to your supplier, so your Smart meter can tell them exactly how much energy you’re using and when you’re using it. This gives you a couple of important benefits; first, no more digging under the stairs to find your meter reading and second, helping your supplier understand when you are using your energy means that they can begin to create energy tariffs tailored to your home or business, which could save you money on your energy bills.
Most Smart meters will also come with an In-Home Device or IHD. This is a display which will show you, in real time, the energy you’re using and the cost of that energy, allowing you to keep track of how much you spend to power your property.
Why aren’t Gulf Gas & Power UK installing them yet?
As you’ll know with mobile phones or computers, technology can become out of date and obsolete really quickly. This is no different with Smart meters.
Most people who currently have a Smart meter installed will have what’s called a SMETS1 meter. These meters are not currently part of the governments central DCC system, but things are in the pipeline to make them compatible over the next twelve months. These meters send the meter readings back to suppliers by normal mobile broadband from a SIM card inside it. It works, but issues happen because it’s not a standard system. Change supplier and you’re likely to lose the Smart functionality, and your meter will be switched to ‘dumb’ mode. Back to giving your supplier monthly readings…
The latest generation of Smart meters – imaginatively referred to as SMETS2 – don’t suffer from the same issues and as these meters are designed to work with Smart DCC, they’ll be in homes and businesses long into the future. Currently, there are around 250,000 SMETS2 meters installed across the UK, but it’s still really early days, so we’re waiting until we have total confidence that this generation of Smart meters are going to be there for the long-haul.
What will happen if I already have a Smart meter and I join Gulf Gas & Power UK?
Today, switching to us would mean you would lose the Smart functionality of your meter, however in the next few months we’ll be able to link your meter to Smart DCC. This can be done remotely, so no engineers will need to visit you. Once this is done, your readings will be automatically sent to Smart DCC, and your Smart functionality will be back in place.
Does it cost anything to have a new Smart meter installed?
No, your Smart meter will be fitted completely free of charge.
Will my supply be affected?
Your supply will be switched off while your meter is being installed, but otherwise your supply will run as it does normally.
How safe is my data?
Data security is big news right now, so it’s not surprising that some might be concerned about how Smart meters capture and use their information.
The data a Smart meter captures is protected by law – just like any other information you provide to your energy supplier. This means you can decide when it’s taken, how it’s used, if it’s shared and who it is shared with. Changing the amount of data a meter collects could affect your ability to understand the energy use of your property, but you are in control. For clarity, Gulf Gas & Power will not share any information captured by your Smart meter with a third party, unless we are legally required to do so.
For security reasons, all data captured by your Smart meter is encrypted and is never stored on the meter itself. No personal information such as your name, address or financial information is captured, stored or transmitted by the meter – just details of the amount of energy you use.
I’m a Gulf Gas & Power UK customer, when can I get a Smart meter?
We’ll start installing Smart meters later this year and soon we’ll be giving our customers the opportunity to apply to join our waiting list. Our roll-out will be carried out in regions and we’ll contact customers to let them know when they can expect our engineers to be in their area.