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.

Do I have to have a smart meter?
Can I switch suppliers with a smart meter?
What about smart meter radiation?
Are smart meters safe?
How do smart meters spy on you?
Can I get a smart meter if I rent?
Should I get a smart meter?

1. Do I have to have a smart meter?

Smart meters aren't compulsory. You're not legally obliged to have a smart meter installed in your home.

But just so you know, we're upgrading our customers to a smart meter when completing meter replacements. And if you sign up to one of our fixed-price tariffs you will be agreeing to have a smart meter installed in your property, if you're eligible and don't already have one.

Of course if you do want a smart meter​​​​​​​​​​, you can always check if you can get one at any time.

For more information on the smart meter rollout, visit Smart Energy GB.

2. Can I switch suppliers with a smart meter?

You won't have any problems switching energy supplier with a smart meter if you have a second generation SMETS2 meter. SMETS2 meters will keep their smart functionality after a switch. As it happens, 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. What about smart meter radiation?

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. Are smart meters 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 pose no health risks.

5. How do smart meters spy on you?

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

So, is your smart meter spying on you? No.

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. Can I get a smart meter if I rent?

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 before installing a smart meter in a rented property, but it's a good idea to let your landlord know.

7. Should I get a smart meter?

Yes, we're cheating a little here. This may not be a myth about smart meters, but after everything you've read about them, it's probably the most important question to ask. So, should you get a smart meter? We certainly think so. And once you've seen the ways you can benefit if you get one, we think you'll agree.

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

  • Meter readings are sent automatically so you can save time

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

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.