Smart meters are hailed as a way for households to take control of their energy bills and usage. These meters automatically send your meter readings to your energy supplier, so you don’t have to.
One of the biggest benefits of having a smart meter is that the devices give real-time information on energy use.
This means households are only billed for the energy they use rather than energy companies estimating usage.
The meters also have an in-home display which shows households how much energy they are using in their property, and ultimately, how much this will cost them.
By being able to see the cost associated with their energy use, residents can then make informed decisions about whether they need to make any changes.
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Government estimates suggest a significant reduction in carbon emissions of around 45 million tonnes countrywide.
That’s the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road for a year.
This is why the Government is pushing to roll out smart meters across the country, with hopes of hitting target net-zero emissions by 2050.
Are smart meters mandatory?
The Government has issued a binding annual installation target to all gas and electricity suppliers to roll out smart and advanced meters to their remaining customers who don’t yet have one.
There are more than 26 million homes for the energy suppliers to get to, with the goal of every home being offered a smart meter by 2024.
By rolling out smart meters, the Government hopes to reach its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is leading and monitoring the rollout.
The rollout also includes rules and standards to make sure customers are fully protected.
However, households are not legally obliged to accept a smart meter in their home if they do not want one.
Compare the Market explains: “While energy suppliers have been given annual installation targets to achieve or face potential sanctions, you still have the right to refuse installation.
“Your smart-meter legal rights also mean you can change your mind and request a smart meter installation at a later date, at no extra cost.”
The only exception to this rule is if your meter needs replacing or you’re installing a meter in new premises.
In this case, energy suppliers must install a smart meter unless there is a valid reason not to.