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You don’t have to get a smart energy meter installed if you don’t want to – and even if you do want to, I think you’re better off waiting

I’ve had letters and phone calls from my energy company pushing me to get a smart meter installed. There’s an urgency each time, as if I’m going to miss out if I don’t take advantage of the “teams in my area”. But in truth, you won’t miss out. The energy companies have big targets to meet, and they’ll be back.

But why wait? Well, as I share in my video below, the meters being installed by most companies right now could become dumb meters if you switch.

More smart meter questions

Are smart meters compulsory?

No, you don’t have to get one installed. It’s up to you if you get one or not. But you do have to be offered one by 2020, which is why the companies are pushing it so hard.

Can you switch if you have a smart meter?

This depends on whether you committed to a special fixed tariff. If you did there could well be penalty charges for switching. These are often around £25 to £30 per fuel, though you could save more than this by moving to another company.

The other thing to bear in mind is there’s a very high chance your current smart meter won’t work when you switch, This is most likely if you’ve got a SMETS1 meter – which most people who’ve had a smart meter installed will have. You’ll end up with the functionality of a normal traditional meter, so you’ll be able to take readings, but won’t have all the bangs and whistles.

If you’ve got a SMETS2 meter, which not many people have, then the smart meter should switch absolutely fine. And the older ones should get a software update later in 2018 which allows them to work after switching.

Do smart meters save you money?

Some energy providers have started offering exclusive tariffs to customers installing a new smart meter, so there could be savings to be made there.

As to whether they’ll bring down bills – well if you pay more attention to how much energy you use because of the meters, and cut back on energy use as a result, then yes, you’ll make savings. But if you carry on as usual the only real way to cut those bills is to switch and fix each time your contract expires – which only takes 10 minutes.

Eight mistakes you make when switching energy

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