Smart meters: your questions answered

What is a smart meter? 

Smart meters are pretty nifty. They’re the next generation of gas and electricity meters.  They come with a handy in-home display – a screen that shows you how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, in near real time.  

Smart meters automatically send your meter reading to us so that you won’t have to worry about providing meter readings. This also means you will receive more accurate bills. Yay! For more info, take a look at this video:

Why are smart meters being rolled out? 

The smart meter roll-out is part of a national programme to bring our energy system up to date. All homes in Britain will be offered a smart meter by their supplier by the end of 2020. 

Smart meters give you an easy way to understand and reduce your energy consumption. They will also help to reduce problems that occur with estimated bills or when switching suppliers.  

If there’s a power cut, your smart meter will be able to send a message to your supplier, meaning your power should be restored sooner.  

In the future, smart meters will also allow us to offer energy tariffs that vary at different times of the day. This means we might be able to offer cheaper tariffs at various times; such as when other people’s energy use isn’t very high or if a lot of energy is being produced.

I have a smart meter that was installed by another supplier, can Green Network Energy use my smart meter? 

Simply put, it depends on what type of smart meter you have. Currently, there are a few different types of smart meters around. Therefore, not all suppliers can operate different types of smart meters.  

Most smart meters that were installed up to the end of 2018 were the first generation (SMETS1) meters. Currently, Green Network Energy is not able to operate them in smart mode. We can still supply you with energy if you have one of these meters, but you will need to send us meter readings.  

By the end of 2019, the first generation (SMETS1) meters are due to be set up in the national smart meter communications system. This means that we will then be able to operate them in smart mode, hooray!  

All smart meters installed by Green Network Energy are the latest model (SMETS2) and these can be operated by all suppliers. We can operate SMETS2 meters installed by other suppliers in smart mode. From the end of 2018, suppliers will only be able to install these latest meters.  

Some of the very first smart meters that were installed around 2010-2011 will not be set up in the national smart meter communication system. Unfortunately, Green Network Energy will never be able to operate them in smart mode. For customers with these meters, we will offer an upgrade to the latest specification (SMETS2) meters, so you don’t get left behind.

What data will my smart meter collect? 

Smart meters will only collect your energy consumption data. Your tariff will be stored on your smart meter so that your in-home display accurately shows your usage in pounds and pence.  

Have no fear; your name, address and bank details are never stored on your smart meter.  We will collect a meter reading per day.  

You have the right to ask us to only collect a meter reading per month. We can use a monthly reading to produce an accurate bill but collecting a daily reading provides us with a back-up reading in case we are not able to communicate with your smart meter on one day.  In the future, we will be able to collect half hourly meter readings, but we will ask for your permission to do so. 

More information about smart meter data: https://bit.ly/2XUT89k

Are smart meters secure? 

Yes, the smart metering system in Great Britain has been designed with some of the country’s leading cybersecurity experts, including the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of the government’s security organisation GCHQ.  

Smart meters use their own secure wireless network, they are not connected to the internet and do not use the internet to send or receive information.  

Your name, address and bank details are never stored on your smart meter. Your energy usage and tariff are stored on the meter and are encrypted when they are sent to us. 

Do I have to have a smart meter? 

As an energy company, we have to offer smart meters to our customers by the end of 2020. But it is up to you if you accept this offer. If you decide not to upgrade to a smart meter, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • You will have to continue to provide meter readings 
  • You won’t receive a handy in-home display 
  • You may not be able to access certain tariffs

How do smart meters work? 

Just like our mobile phones and TVs, smart meters use their own secure, wireless network.  

They don’t use the internet to send or receive data, so you don’t need an internet connection for them to work.  Here is a quick and easy explanation: 

Can I switch supplier if I have a smart meter? 

Yes, you can still switch supplier if you have a smart meter!

However, depending on what smart meter you have, and what provider you are switching to, you may lose smart functionality and need to provide meter readings.

The smart meters installed by Green Network Energy will all be the latest model (SMETS2) meters. All other suppliers are required to operate these meters so you should not lose any smart functionality.

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