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Community energy

Pssst – want a smart meter?

Well most of us have now heard about them, or seen the Gaz and Leccy adverts.

Every energy supplier must offer its customers a smart meter by 2020.  But it’s not compulsory to have one.

So, should we bother?  Well in general the answer is yes, but you may want to wait.

Our energy network was designed for much simpler times, when central power stations supplied the whole country via the National Grid.  However, local energy generation, such as solar panels and biomass, and the need to reduce our use of energy has meant that the energy distribution and supply network is undergoing rapid change.

It’s definitely smart to measure how much energy we use but are smart meters to help us, or for the benefit of the supply and distribution network?  Well in fact it’s a bit of both – smart meters will:

  • Mean the network operators can better match supply and demand
  • Help us be more efficient, greener and waste less energy AND SAVE MONEY
  • Help energy be more secure and reliable
  • Mean unexpected power outages can be tackled faster
  • Mean we can plan for the number of power stations we’ll need in future with greater accuracy

Your supply company can use your smart meter to create and sell you a half hourly tariff which will cost you more at peak times and much less and when national (or local) energy needs are lower. Your meter will send automatic readings to your energy supplier so you will receive accurate, not estimated, bills.

Can you ask for one now?  Yes, but not all the current meters will talk to the Data and Communication Company (DCC) that is being set up to link smart meters in homes and businesses with the systems of energy suppliers, network operators and energy service companies.  You may want to wait a while to make sure your meter is not just linked to your current supplier.  Check that it can transmit data to whichever supplier you choose to use in the future as well as now.