Smart Meter FAQ

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Smart meters

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They automatically send meter readings directly and securely to your energy supplier giving you a much more accurate bill. They also help you to make more informed energy choices around the home.


Do I have to have a smart meter?

If you don’t want a smart meter you don’t need to have one, but we are obliged to contact you when we start to roll them out to make sure that you haven’t changed your mind.


Why are smart meters being introduced?

In the UK, our energy system isn’t as efficient or future proofed as we need it to be. In an effort to update UK infrastructure and tackle climate change, the government wants every home in Britain to have a smart meter to encourage more people to pay attention to the energy they are using and therefore become more efficient at managing their energy.


What’s the benefit of having a smart meter?

There are many benefits to having a smart meter. These include:
• Automatic meter readings. You no longer have to manually submit meter readings, or wait in for a meter reader to come over. Your meter readings will be sent to Good Energy automatically.
• Accurate and predictable bills. You can view exactly what energy you are using and how much it is costing you, via the Good Energy Smart app. This means that your bill will never be based on estimated data, and it won’t come as a surprise.
• Understand your energy usage in real time. A smart meter is a very good tool to help you to monitor your energy consumption and make informed decisions to prevent energy waste. For example, you may notice that an older appliance uses a lot of electricity and that it may be more cost effective to upgrade it.


Does the smart meter itself use energy and will I be charged for it?

Yes, inevitably a smart meter does use some energy to function; which our providers have confirmed is around 1.3 watts per hour. This is about the same as leaving a television on standby. As smart meters enable us to control our energy usage much more easily, the benefits will outweigh the very small cost.


Will my smart meter require an internet connection?

You don’t need a WiFi or internet connection in order for a smart meter to work; instead they use the same sort of technology that you would find in your phone.


I have poor mobile phone coverage, will this affect my smart meter?

Sometimes your smart electricity and gas meters may have trouble communicating with us because of signal issues in your area. This means that we may not be able to receive automatic meter readings, but don’t worry there are a few ways we might be able to help you resolve this so please just get in touch.


Are there health risks attached to smart meters?

The smart meters that we install are as safe as possible and are fully covered by both UK and EU product safety legislation. This means that they have had to undergo rigorous testing to make sure they are stable and secure so as not to put our customers in danger.

Smart meters use low-frequency radio emissions to communicate the information they collect, in a very similar way to other wireless electronic devices, like mobile phones and televisions. Using a mobile phone gives you greater exposure to radio waves than living with a smart meter.


Will a smart meter capture my personal data?

A smart meter will not capture your personal data. The only information a smart meter sends out is related to your energy usage and this data is encrypted to a very high standard. Only you and your energy supplier will be able to view the data.


How do smart meters communicate with my energy supplier?

Your smart electricity meter communicates with your other smart devices and technology via two wireless networks: the home area network (HAN) and wide area network (WAN).

The HAN is a secure network that works a bit like broadband. It allows your smart electricity meter to communicate with your smart gas meter and with your In-Home Display (IHD). It will also be able to communicate with other smart devices when they become available.

The WAN is a network between your smart meter, the Data Communications Company (DCC) and your energy supplier. The DCC was set up by the government to be responsible for collecting and passing data between your meter and supplier - a bit like a mobile phone network.

Once your smart electricity meter has gathered readings from your smart gas meter it uses the WAN to send all of the readings to your energy supplier.


Do smart meters emit radio waves?

Smart meters use low-frequency radio emissions to communicate the information they collect, in a very similar way to other wireless electronic devices, like mobile phones and televisions.

Public Health England, an executive agency of the UK Department of Health, has collated various studies, reviews and assessments to measure the effect of smart meter radio waves.

They have concluded that:

All the evidence so far suggests that the radio waves produced by smart meters don’t pose any risk to the health of people who have them in their home.

Smart meters aren’t communicating all the time – just in occasional short bursts when they’re actually sending the supplier information. You would get higher exposure to radio waves from any device you use closer to your body, which emits more power and which transmits for more of the time – such as a mobile phone.

If you’d like more details, please take a look at the Public Health England (PHE) guide to smart meters.


Compatibility

Will the meter you install be compatible with other suppliers?

Yes, your Good Energy smart meter will be compatible with all other suppliers should you choose to switch away.


Will my current smart meter work with you when you do roll them out?

If you already have a smart meter, it is likely that it will not work with other energy suppliers in the short term.

That’s because, for the first generation of smart meters, different energy providers use different technologies which aren’t compatible with each other.

Before 2020, any installed first generation meters should be made compatible with all energy suppliers through a remote upgrade at no extra charge to you.


Will my IHD work with you if I switch now?

You may still be able to use your in home display to work out how much energy you are using, but you will have to manually submit meter readings.


Do I have to keep giving you meter readings even though I have a smart meter because you don’t support them yet?

Unfortunately we’ll have to treat your meter as traditional or dumb until we roll out smart meters, which means you’ll need to send us regular meter readings for accurate billing.

If you’re planning on switching to us please make sure that you can access the meter and can take meter readings from the screen.


Good Energy’s roll out

Why have you taken so long to bring out smart meters?

The main reason that we are starting our smart meter roll out after some other energy suppliers is that we wanted to provide our customers with the latest smart meter technology. Second generation smart meters bring all the benefits of real time monitoring; but they are also compatible with all other energy suppliers should you decide to leave Good Energy.


When are you rolling out smart meters?

We’re working with our carefully selected smart installation partners to make sure that all our customers receive one by 2020. You’ll hear from us with more information closer to the time that we’ll be installing in your area.

We’re going to be running a regional smart pilot later this year – please email us to register your interest.


Will you supply me with an In Home Display when you do roll them out?

We will offer all customers an In Home Display.

In addition, we’ll be delivering a wealth of useful insights through our new smart app. Watch this space for more information.


Are you rolling out both gas and electricity smart meters?

Yes we will be rolling out both gas and electricity smart meters.


Will you offer any new tariffs, smart discounts etc when you roll out the smart meters?

We already offer time of use tariffs through our Economy 7 and 10 tariffs.

With the arrival of smart meters, we expect to be able to be even more flexible with our tariffs. This could mean future tariffs which offer “off-peak” energy pricing which existing customers could benefit from.


If I have a First Generation smart meter, when will you change it to the new version?

Before 2020, any installed first generation meters should be made compatible with all energy suppliers through a remote upgrade at no extra charge to you.


Will you charge me for a smart meter?

You will not have to pay for your smart meter.

In the future, we may offer high tech additional functionality for interested customers and small businesses. This optional upgrade may come at a small price for those who wish to receive it.


How will the Good Energy app work alongside the smart meter?

The Good Energy smart app will work alongside your smart meter to provide a real time graphic view of the energy you are using in your home, no matter where you are. This will be the same app that you can use to view your recent bills, submit meter readings (if you don’t yet have a smart meter) and chat with the Good Energy community.

This app is currently undergoing testing, and a pre-smart version will be available soon.

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