Smart meter Q&A

Advertising feature / 17 November 2020

Find out the answer to frequently asked questions about smart meter installation and use.



Q: What does installation involve?

A: It should take no more than two hours and cause minimal disruption.

Q: Can I switch tariff or energy supplier if I have a smart meter?

A: Yes. Although your smart meter will be installed by your current energy supplier, there is nothing to stop you switching to a different provider later. In fact, to make sure you’re not paying more than you should, it’s advisable to consult a price comparison site which sets out clearly the choice available. There’s nothing to stop you reviewing and switching every year.

Q: Can I get a smart meter if I am on an Economy 7 or an Economy 10 tariff?

A: All suppliers will be able to support Economy 7 and 10 with the second generation smart meters that are now being installed.

Q: Will the in-home display cost me anything to run?

A: Your smart meter’s in-home display will cost less than £1 a year in electricity.

Q: Our daughter rents her flat. Will she be eligible for a smart meter?

A: Yes. If she pays the bills direct, she can ask for one. She should tell her landlord first, in case there are any rules in her tenancy agreement about how energy is supplied to the property. If the landlord pays the utility bills, she/he can ask for a meter to be installed.

Three myths about smart meters

‘SMART METERS CAN SPY ON YOU’ A smart meter can only measure the gas and electricity you use. Personal details – name, address, bank account – are not stored on or transmitted by the smart meter. Your supplier can’t use any data for sales and marketing purposes without your permission.

‘MY WI-FI SIGNAL IS POOR. WILL THIS AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF A SMART METER?’ You don’t need Wi-Fi or even a mobile phone with the second generation smart meters because they are not connected to the internet. They operate on a secure wireless smart data network. Energy readings are encrypted and sent to your supplier in a similar way to how your mobile phone transmits information.

‘SMART METERS ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE FOR THE BLIND OR PARTIALLY SIGHTED’ An ‘accessible’ in-home display with additional features has been developed in partnership with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and includes features such as large buttons and text-to-speech functionality.

To apply for a smart meter, simply contact your energy supplier.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.