If you have a smart meter and want to switch energy supplier, is this possible and what are the implications? We explore this in this article.To help meet stringent environmental impact requirements, the Government has dictated that gas and electricity suppliers must provide and fit smart meters for everyone in Britain by 2020.
This means that if your home hasn’t already been fitted with one, it won’t be long before your energy company contacts you to arrange an installation for you. A separate meter will be installed for gas and electricity so if you are a dual fuel user, you will have two meters installed, however these will connect to only one in-home display to view both your gas and electricity usage.
There are definitley benefits to having a smart meter installation such as seeing how much gas and electricity you are actually using, thereby encouraging you to find ways to cut down on usage. Your meters will also automatically send frequent readings to your energy supplier so that your bills should be more accurate, freeing you from that dreaded “estimated reading” on your statements.However, what happens if, or, ideally when, you decide to switch energy provider if you altready have smart meters installed?
Smart meters contain sim cards to contact your supplier
Smart meters contain mobile phone technology and a sim card to allow them to connect to computers at your energy supplier regularly and update your account with accurate and up to date readings.
If you wish to change energy supplier, the smart meters will still work and display instantaneous electricity and gas usage, however they will not connect to your new supplier until a new sim card has been installed, and the software re-configured to allow the meter to establish a connection with their computers.
Do my smart meters work with any energy provider?
Having smart meters does not in any way prevent you from being able to change supplier.
Your new supplier can let you know if you are able to keep your smart meters benefits such as having them upload your readings automatically.Some of the smaller and newer suppliers have not yet implemented smart meter technologies.Bulb are an example of a smaller supplier who are unable to receive readings from currently installed smart meters.
This is what their approach is, as stated in their community forum :
[Bulb] aren’t offering smart meters just yet, but we will be rolling them out in early 2018.In late 2017, we will let our members know exactly which smart meters we will be offering.Some suppliers are already rolling out smart meters, but they are using ‘first generation’ smart meters, and these first generation meters don’t always work if you change your supplier. We think it’d be a disadvantageous to do that to our members, so we will begin installing second generation meters as soon as we can get them in early 2018.
The good news is these second generation meters will be able to communicate with any supplier.
This doesn’t mean that having existing smart meters prevents you from switching to Bulb. It just means that you will have to supply manual readings to energy providers like them who don’t currently provide smart meter based services.
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We have smart meters and are switching to Bulb
Our existing supplier, Utility Warehouse, has recently installed gas and electricity smart meters into our home. However we would save money by switching to Bulb and I definitely like the idea of using 100% renewable electricity and gas that comes from 10% renewable sources too.I have since found that not only can you save money, you can EARN money by switching to Bulb.
I intend to write about our experience of switching to Bulb – to show how easy it is in practise and to see what happens about our smart meters. It should be an interesting journey and I hope it proves as painless and easy as the energy companies make it sound. Keep in touch to see how we get on!
When SSE fitted our Smart Meter they supplied us with a little piece of equipment that was plugged into a power point in the house where it was convenient to see. When I asked why that small read out varied from the actual readout at the main meter I was told that those portable units are only “approximate” readings. True, you can put the kettle on to boil and watch a needle display go berserk…but what so smart about getting an “approximate” reading? And by the way…SSE sold out to OVO Energy Ltd…..and they are a crap company to deal with!
I have switched from Scottish Power to Sainsbury energy. Will my smart meter work and do I need a new monitor
I think it will depend on which smart meter you have. This information may help you: https://www.sainsburysenergy.com/help-support/smart-meter.html
I had smart meters fitted by Octopus Energy on 18th December, and the electricity one worked straightaway, but the gas one has only been connected to their database from Wednesday last week! However, I’m now switching to EDF, and they tell me that they can’t read Octopus meters, and they can’t fit new ones until ‘the industry’ has caught up with demand! This is a farce, when a large supplier can’t read installed smart meters!
Interesting comment, George. Thank you. The fact that EDF can’t read the smart meter installed by Octopus seems to point to the fact that an older style SMETS 1 meter must have been installed. We have had the latest meter installed (SMETS2) which provides 30 minute meter readings to Octopus Energy and is excellent. Interesting, too, that you have switched away from Octopus to EDF. Octopus have some very innovative plans and tarrifs and we are very happy with them.
I am changing from Scottish power to octopus what happens to my smartmeter.
Do I need to contact anyone.
I don’t think it’s been set up correctly by Scottish power then never gave my
Husband any instructions how to work it so we don’t know what’s energy we are using
Hello Jill. I would talk to Octopus and see what they say about your smart meter. However, it probably won’t work, but it’s best to get that from the horses mouth.
I am having similar problem following a switch from Sainsbury Energy to Bulb, I managed to get the readings at the time of the switch but now the smart meter gives only reading for gas, nothing for electricity. That is the only meter I have now. Where do I go from here? A very helpful person at Bulb thinks I should have another meter for gas.
Hi Maria. Thank you for your comment. Sainsbury’s say that their smart meters are for both gas and electricity, so you should only have one meter supplied by them.
Have you phoned Sainsbury’s to ask them if they know why the electricity usage is not being measured now?
My tariff with Sainsbury’s ends February 2018, I was previously with British Gas who installed my Smart Meter. I moved to Sainsbury’s as they were part of British Gas and were able to read the Smart Meter. I am now looking at the Market Place for a new more competitive supplier and would like to know whether any other suppliers can read the BG Smart Meter?
We had a smart meter installed by British Gas connected to both gas and electricity meters but now we have changed to Bulb energy our smart meter has gone blank and does not give any reading also can’t read original meters as connected to smart meter so how are we supposed to give Bulb a reading ???
Thanks for your comment. I would give Bulb customer support a ring on 0300 3030 635. I’ve only contacted them a few rimes, but they have answered very quickly and been very helpful.
You must have supplied a meter reading to Bulb during the switching process ( I did during my switch to them) so they will have that to help them, but give them a ring and ask them to help!
I hope it goes well,