Heard about smart meters and want to know exactly what they are and how they work? Maybe you've already done some research and just want to know if you can get a smart meter. Or you've already got one and you need help with your smart meter. Our guide has everything you need to know about smart meters.

And if you're renting a flat or a house, we've got a guide that covers everything you need to know if you want a smart meter and you're a renter.

Play video: What is a smart meter

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters replace your existing gas and electricity meters and tell you more about the energy you use in your home. They send regular meter readings automatically to your supplier. This keeps your energy use up-to-date.

Once you've had your smart meter installed, you'll be able to see how much energy you're using:

  • On an In-Home Display.
  • By logging into an online account.
  • In an app.

Are smart meters free?

Yes. There is no up-front cost to install a smart meter.

Keep reading to learn about the In-Home Display or you can watch our informative video for more about what a smart meter is.

An In-Home Display with a dashboard screen showing figures for gas and electricity usage

What is an In-Home Display?

The In-Home Display is a handy digital device that sits on your desk or kitchen worktop and communicates with your smart meter. It's a kind of partnership – a smart, secure one.

The In-Home Display loves being close to your smart meter to keep a strong connection. It can then keep you up-to-date about the energy you’re using and encourage you to try and reduce your energy use. You might find you can save money using your smart meter.

If you're visually impaired we also offer Accessible In-Home Displays (AIHDs). An AIHD offers the same benefits as a standard In-Home Display, but comes with extra features that can help with visual impairments. These features include larger buttons and an option to turn text into speech.

Keep reading to find out about the benefits of a smart meter and why you should get one or, if you’re interested, you can see if you can get a smart meter now.

Should I get a smart meter?

Some of the benefits:

  • More accurate billing
    Real-time data means you pay for what you use – no estimated bills.

  • Save time
    They send meter readings automatically, so you won’t have to.

  • Save energy
    See where you can use less energy around your home.

Can I get a smart meter?

Go to book a smart meter, answer a few questions and we'll let you know. It's quicker if you’re an SSE customer and you're logged in.

A gas smart meter and an electricity smart meter

What does a smart meter look like?

You've probably heard and read a lot about smart meters, but you might not actually know what they look like or how big a smart meter is.

When you have your gas and/or electricity energy meter replaced, you'll get a smart meter that looks similar to your old one.

Some people mistake the In-Home Display for a smart meter, but they’re separate devices. In-Home Displays have a large touch screen and communicate with your smart meter to give you an idea of the energy you're using.

Keep reading to find out how smart meters work or if you've decided you want a smart meter, you can book an appointment now.

Types of smart meter

SMETS1 – 1st generation smart meters

The first smart meters to be installed. If you switched supplier with this smart meter it’s unlikely the new supplier would have received anything sent over its 3G network so the smart meter probably became “dumb” like a basic meter. However as part of an industry-wide programme, they'll soon work the same way as 2nd generation smart meters (SMETS2).

SMETS2 – 2nd generation smart meters

These are the smart meters that are being installed across the country right now. Information is shared in the same way across SMETS2 smart meters which means you can carry all the benefits of smart over when you switch suppliers.

diagram showing how a smart meter communicates with a digital in-home display device and an SSE account on a desktop computer or mobile device

How do smart meters work?

Smart meters use two networks to communicate within your home and with your energy supplier:

  • The Home Area Network (HAN)
  • The Wide Area Network (WAN)

The HAN is a secure network that links your gas and electricity meters together. It also enables your meters and In-Home Display to communicate with one another.

The WAN is similar to a mobile network. Smart meters use the WAN to send energy suppliers data about the energy you use. This helps you get accurate bills.

Do smart meters need Wi-Fi to work?

Smart meters use their own secure wireless networks to “talk” to your In-Home Display and to your supplier. So there’s no internet connection and smart meters don’t use Wi-Fi.

Keep reading if you’re a Pay As You Go customer or if you’ve decided you want a smart meter, you can book a smart appointment now.

Green and blue SSE smart Pay As You Go top-up cards

Smart for Pay As You Go

Smart Pay As You Go meters (also known as smart prepayment meters or smart prepaid meters) make it easier for you to manage your energy and credit.

  • Top up gas and electric credit online anytime – there's no need to go to the shops, unless you want to.
  • We'll add your credit remotely, so you don't need to do anything with your meter.
  • Our friendly credit periods keep your supply on if you run out of credit overnight or at the weekend.
  • Activate emergency credit from your In-Home Display.

If you're renting a flat or a house, a smart Pay As You Go meter is a great option. Take a look at our guide that covers everything you need to know if you want a smart meter and you're a renter.

Already got a smart Pay As You Go meter? We've got help guides and step-by-step instructions for topping up.

Take the first step to a smart home

  • 1. Smart on the wall
    Book an appointment and have a SMETS2 smart meter installed by SSE.

  • 2. Smart in your home
    Keep your In-Home Display close to your smart meter. It's your energy at a glance.

  • 3. Smart on the go
    Get the My SSE app and access your energy anywhere. See if it changes over time.

Got a smart meter and need some help?

Take a look at our guide to smart meter troubleshooting. It covers everything, from what to do if your smart meter has lost connection, to setting up a monthly target on your In-Home Display.

Important information

Will I still get bills for gas and electricity with my smart meter?

You'll still receive regular bills as you do now, either online or by post. The difference is that smart meters send us regular, accurate meter readings, so you shouldn't receive any more estimated bills.

Are there any regulatory requirements for smart meters?

We’re committed to keeping your personal information safe. Our Smart Meter Data Charter sets out the standards you can expect from us when we ask for and store your personal information. What's more, smart meters work on separate, secure networks.

We're a signatory of the Smart Meter Installation Schedule (SMIS). This means you can be sure you'll receive a high standard of service from us throughout the installation process and that you know how to use, and benefit from, your smart meter to help improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Smart meters send us readings automatically

We rely on a mobile phone or wireless signal to get your smart meter readings. If these fail, you'll either need to take your own reading and send it to us, or your bills will be estimated.

Want to upgrade to a smart meter?