When it comes to smart meters, there’s a lot of incorrect information, misconceptions and myths out there— from worries about safety to concerns about data security and everything in between. In this article, we’ll address some of the most common smart meter myths.
Myth no. 1: My smart meter will spy on me
Fact: Smart meters are secure and data is never shared with third parties
Smart meters are designed to collect your gas & electricity usage data and nothing else. They simply don’t have access to any other kind of personal data.
When that data is transmitted to your energy supplier, it uses a secure encrypted connection – similar to that used by online banking. The communication infrastructure is provided by the Data Communication Company, which is regulated by Ofgem.
Your data is secure and is never passed on to third parties.
Myth no. 2: My energy supplier will force me to get a smart meter
Fact: Smart meters are completely optional
Smart meters are not compulsory, and your energy supplier cannot force you to get one if you don’t want it.
Here’s what it says on the Ofgem website:
“While we and the government think that all consumers will benefit from smart meters, they aren’t compulsory and you can choose not to have one.”
“Choosing not to have a smart meter may mean you don’t have access to all the available tariffs on the market, some of which could be cheaper.”
“If you don’t want to have a smart meter now, you will still be able to have one installed for free at a later date.”
You can find more information in this article titled “Are Smart Meters Compulsory?”
Myth no. 3: Smart meters will make you ill
Fact: Smart meters are just as safe as any other digital device
There is no need to be concerned about your health with a smart meter in the house. They are subject to the same strict UK and EU safety regulations as any other consumer electrical product.
They do emit radio waves, but the levels are perfectly safe – and lower than your mobile phone or your Wi-Fi router.
The government has published a very detailed article about smart meters and your health, which you can read here.
Myth no. 4: You can’t change suppliers once you have a smart meter
Fact: You are free to switch suppliers whenever you like
You are free to switch energy suppliers whether you have a traditional meter or a smart meter.
One note – if you have a first-generation smart meter, it could make switching a little more complicated. If on the other hand you have a second-gen meter, you can switch seamlessly between suppliers. Contact your current provider if you’re unsure.
Myth no. 5: Smart meters are expensive
Fact: Your energy supplier should provide & fit your smart meter free of charge
Energy companies are obligated to offer smart meters to their customers, and they should supply and fit them for free. The cost of the equipment and installation is covered by your monthly energy bills.
Myth no. 6: Smart meters cause fires
Fact: Smart meters a rigorously tested and fitted by qualified engineers
Smart meter manufacturers must satisfy the safety requirements and standards set out in the National Electric Safety Code (NESC). Your meter will also be fitted by a qualified, expert engineer.
This makes the risk of fires or explosions extremely unlikely.
Myth no. 7: You can’t get a smart meter if you rent
Fact: Tenants have the right to choose their energy supplier and can get a smart meter
As a tenant, if you’re the one who pays the gas & electric bills, then you have the right to choose your own energy supplier. You can also choose whether or not to get a smart meter.
Strictly speaking, your energy meter belongs to your energy supplier – not you, not the house and not your landlord – so you are free to get the old meter taken out and replaced with a smart meter. Although your landlord can’t stop you, it’s advisable to let them know what you’re doing.
Myth no. 8: Smart meters don’t really offer any benefits
Fact: Smart meters give you accurate bills and control over your energy usage
For a start, they give you completely accurate energy bills. That means no more estimated bills, and no surprises if you have under or over-paid. In addition, your in-home display gives you a near real-time view of your energy use, displayed in pounds and pence. This gives you the power to identify waste, make smarter choices and reduce your spending.
You can claim your free smart meter from Eversmart Energy here.