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Smart meters and controls

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Smart meters

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. Together with their accompanying in-home displays, smart meters will help you keep track of the energy you use in your home, and will reduce the need for meter readings.

Every home and business in Great Britain will be offered smart meters for electricity and gas by the end of 2024. Smart meters are not currently being rolled out in Northern Ireland.

How do smart meters work?

Smart meters measure the total energy used in the same way as a traditional meter, but they can also tell you when you have used it and how much it costs. Additionally, they have a communication capability that allows this data to be displayed on a device inside your home and read remotely by your energy supplier. 

An in-home display (IHD) unit will be provided along with the smart meter as part of the programme. This device is the most visible part of the smart metering system and provides up-to-date real-time information on gas and electricity use in pounds and pence, as well as units of energy.

The display also presents historical information on consumption so that you can compare current and past use.

What are the benefits of smart meters?

  • They enable you to see when you're using the most energy and how much it's costing you. This means you can adapt your energy use and cut down on waste to provide long-term carbon and financial savings.
  • They provide you with accurate and real-time information about your energy use, enabling you to make informed decisions about your energy behaviour. Currently many of us receive estimated bills after the energy has been used, making it difficult to reconcile costs with usage. 

More about smart meters

Find out more about the smart meter roll-out and installation in our FAQs.

Read the Ofgem factsheet: Smart metering – what it means for Britain’s homes

Smart heating controls

Smart thermostats are a new type of heating control, giving you much greater control over your heating, from wherever you are, at any time of day.  

There are a range of different smart heating controls currently on the market - each works slightly differently and has different features. Some features include:

  • remote access to turn your heating on and off, or control the temperature in your home, using a mobile app
  • memory to remember your routine energy use - this information can then be used to set heating preferences automatically
  • the ability to control the heating in different areas of your home, to avoid wasting energy by heating un-used rooms
  • information about how much energy your heating system is using. Some devices can store information so that you can see your energy use over time.
  • Additional control features such as compensation, which adjusts the boiler output temperature depending on the temperature in your home or outside

What are the benefits of smart heating controls?

  • They allow you greater control and give you the option to be more flexible with your heating settings. 
  • They can help you to manage your heating more efficiently and potentially help you save money on your energy bills. For example, if you are going to be home late one evening, you can remotely change your settings to prevent the heating from turning on until you arrive home.
  • They allow you to adjust your heating very easily, helping to make your home more comfortable very quickly. Be aware, if you use the control to turn the heating on more frequently, or to a higher temperature than it usually would be, you could find you use more energy, and your bills go up.
  • Systems with additional control functions can help you avoid heating the home when you don’t need to, or can make your boiler operate more efficiently

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