A gas smart meter and an electricity smart meter

You've probably asked yourself: should I get a smart meter?

You've sat down and done your research. Looked at the advantages and if there are any disadvantages. You've talked to your friends or family about whether they think smart meters are good or not.

We appreciate it’s not an easy decision, so we've collected some common concerns about smart meters and provided some answers. This should help you decide whether you should get one.

1. "I have to have a smart meter"

Smart meters aren’t compulsory. You're not legally obliged to have a smart meter installed if you don’t want one. But everyone will get the chance to upgrade to a smart meter by the end of 2020. For more information on the smart meter rollout, visit Smart Energy GB.

2. "I can't change supplier with a smart meter"

If you have a second generation SMETS2 meter you can switch supplier without any problems. SMETS2 meters will keep their smart functionality after a switch. At SSE we’re now installing SMETS2 meters.

If you have a first generation SMETS1 meter you might find it’ll lose some smart functionality for a short period, but you can still go ahead and switch supplier.

3. "Smart meters are a radiation risk"

Smart meters emit radio waves like mobile phones, but only in short bursts. And they're not as close to your body. You should get less exposure to radio waves from your smart meter than from your mobile phone. For more details, see the government guidance on smart meters: radio waves and health.

4. "Smart meters aren't safe"

Smart meters have undergone testing under UK and EU product safety law. Public Health England, part of the UK Department of Health, has studied the evidence and ruled that smart meters aren’t a danger to your health.

5. "Smart meters can spy on me"

Smart meters can't see you or listen in on your conversations. None of your personal information is collected or stored.

They don't connect to the internet. They use their own secure wireless network, known as a home area network, to communicate with the In-Home Display.

The only thing it measures is the amount of energy you use. It sends this to your energy supplier via a wide area network (WAN) that works in the same way a mobile phone sends and receives information. You get to decide how often that happens so you're in control.

6. "I can't get a smart meter if I'm a renter"

If you're renting, paying your energy bills and they're addressed to you, not your landlord, you’re entitled to ask your energy supplier for a smart meter. You don't have to ask permission, but it's a good idea to let your landlord know.

7. "There are no benefits from having a smart meter"

  • Meter readings are sent automatically so you can save time

  • See what you're spending in pounds and pence, and in real time

  • No more estimated bills so they'll always be up-to-date and accurate

Important information

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.