I have a smart meter – why am I still being asked for a meter reading?

meter readings

You may have noticed that we’re big fans of smart meters here at Eversmart.

One of the main benefits of having a smart meter is that you don’t have to submit manual meter readings – the meter automatically collects and transmits your usage information for you.

So if that’s the case, why do some customers with smart meters still get asked to submit a manual reading?

There are two main reasons this could happen:

Reason no. 1 – You have just switched to us

Let’s say you’re in the middle of switching to Eversmart from another supplier. You already have a smart meter and you’re going to carry on using it.

Your smart meter should send a closing reading to your old old supplier and an opening reading to Eversmart, right? In theory yes, that’s how it should work. But in reality, the old supplier might not release the meter to Eversmart in time – which is why we still ask for an opening meter reading when you switch.

You will only have to do this once. After the switch is complete, your smart meter will automatically send readings to us, and you’ll never have to send a manual reading again!

Reason no. 2 – You don’t have a Secure smart meter

Smart meters
Eversmart use Secure brand smart meters

Don’t be confused – we’re not saying that your meter is insecure or vulnerable. “Secure” is the name of the company that manufactures our smart meters. If your smart meter was fitted by Eversmart, it will be a Secure model.

Secure is one of the most popular smart meter brands, used by around 80% of energy suppliers – including Eversmart. Their meters are SMETS compliant, they are suitable for both direct debit and prepayment customers, and they are compatible with the popular Pipit 500 in-home display.

This means that Eversmart can only take automatic readings from Secure meters.

If your meter was fitted by a different energy supplier, it may or may not be a Secure meter. If it’s not, you will unfortunately have to provide your own meter readings. But don’t worry – we’ve made the whole process as easy as possible.

How to submit a manual reading

You can submit a manual meter reading any time, day or night, simply by logging in to your online account. Once you’ve logged in, just click or tap on the meter readings tab and enter your readings.

If you’re having trouble logging in: Just send an email to hello@eversmartenergy.co.uk and one of our advisers will help get you up and running.

If you need help reading your meter: We have created this handy guide complete with illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions.

Will this change in the future?

Yes. As the second generation of smart meters (known as SMETS2) are rolled-out, there will be no more incompatibility issues between different suppliers and meters. Eversmart are currently in the testing process and we plan to start installing SMETS2 meters in 2019.

Can I change to a Secure meter?

We may be able to upgrade your smart meter, depending on the type of meter you currently have and which part of the country you live in. Please email hello@eversmartenergy.co.uk for more information.

When is the best time to switch energy suppliers?

When is the best time to switch energy suppliers?

Thinking about switching to a new energy supplier? Wondering when is the best time to switch? In most cases the answer is very simple – right now!

Switching to a new energy supplier is pretty easy & straightforward to do, and can potentially save you a lot of money.

Generally speaking, there are really only two reasons not to switch right now:

1. You’re tied in by exit fees

Your current energy supplier might charge you an exit fee if you try to leave early. This is usually the case if you are on a fixed-term tariff.

Exit fees can range from £20 to as much as £75 per fuel.

You can get out of a fixed-term tariff without incurring exit fees if you switch during the last 49 days of your contract. We’ve discussed this in more detail in this article.

It’s also worth noting that the money you save by switching could outweigh the cost of the exit fee. If you can afford to do it, it might still be worth taking the hit if it saves you money in the long run.

Variable tariffs do not incur exit fees, so you’re free to switch whenever you like.

2. You owe money to your current supplier

It may be difficult to switch suppliers if you are behind with your energy bills.

Your account doesn’t necessarily have to be in the black in order to switch – just as long as you’ve paid your most recent bill. If your account is in the negative, you will simply have to pay the remaining balance when you get your final bill.

If on the other hand you’ve been in debt for over 28 days, your supplier will most likely object to you switching until you’ve repaid the debt.

What about prepayment meters?

If you are paying off a debt through a prepayment meter, you can still switch as long as your debt is less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity. Your new supplier will simply take on the debt.

Before you switch

It’s a good idea to take & submit a meter reading just before you switch to a new supplier. This will ensure that your final bill from your old supplier is accurate. It will also give you an up-to-date figure that you can use when getting quotes.

Reasons why you should switch energy suppliers

Don’t sit around paying too much for your energy if you don’t have to. If you’re not in debt and exit fees aren’t a concern, then there’s no reason not to switch to a better deal.

Here’s few reasons why you should switch:

  • It’s easy! It only takes a few minutes to get a quote and switch online
  • Switching is absolutely seamless and there’s no interruption to your gas or electricity supply
  • There’s no inconvenience – the same gas and same electricity comes into your home through the same pipes and cables. All that changes is the company name on your bill.
  • You don’t have to tell you’re old supplier that you’re leaving – your new energy provider will do this for you
  • If you’re on a variable tariff you can leave at any time – even if you’ve only just joined that supplier
  • You can save money!

Did you know that Eversmart are cheaper than every one of the “Big Six” providers?* You can get a quick quote here.

 

*Accurate at time of publishing. Eversmart’s cheapest tariff compared to a standard variable tariff from the big six.

How smart devices can increase your energy bills – and what you can do about it

smart home

Studies suggest that 50% of us will own a smart TV by 2019. Smart TVs and other smart devices must be plugged in and kept on standby at all times – making them more expensive to run than their traditional counterparts. Here’s what you can do to keep your energy costs down.

From TVs to fridges, security systems to coffee makers, fitness trackers to speakers – more and more of our appliances are using an internet connection to become ‘smart’.

The downside to all of this smart technology is the fact that smart devices have to be kept on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week – slowly sucking up extra electricity and pushing up your electricity bill. A smart TV for example uses 10 times more electricity than a standard television set!

Energy efficiency company GreenMatch have created a guide to reducing so-called ‘vampire energy’ without ruining the fun of living in a smart home. It starts with getting a smart meter installed if you don’t already have one.

Scroll down to find out more:

standby power infographic

The secret behind your opening meter reading

opening meter readings

Whenever you switch to a new energy supplier, you will be asked to find your gas & electricity meters and submit an opening set of meter readings. Doing this makes your switch feel official, marking the handover from your old supplier to your new one. Sounds simple enough, right?

The strange thing is, we don’t always use your actual readings to open your account. To explain why, we need to take a look at the way the energy industry works, because industry rules & regulations can make things a lot more complicated than you might expect.

Your opening meter reading has to be checked & validated

When we receive your opening meter readings, we’re not allowed to just take your word for it – we have to send the figures to an independent meter validation company to be checked & verified. This is a regulatory requirement, and every energy company has to do it. It also takes time, which is why switching suppliers can take up to 21 days.

Why do your readings need to be verified? For starters, it prevents disputes between the two energy companies involved in the handover. And secondly, it double-checks that your meter readings are accurate.

So here’s how validating works…

The meter validation company’s aim is to work out what’s know as your maximum acceptable reading. If the opening meter reading you supply is more than the maximum acceptable reading, then they know that something’s not quite right!

This is how they work it out:

Step 1:

First, the meter validation company will look at your last verified reading (i.e. the last one you did with your old supplier before switching).

Step 2:

Next, they’ll calculate your expected usage for the period between your last meter reading and your switch date.

So let’s say your last meter reading was taken 20 days before you switched – they’ll take your typical daily usage and multiply it by 20. And because some days you’ll use more energy than others, they’ll multiply this number by 2.5 to give you a bit of a buffer.

Step 3:

Finally, they add the two figures together to create your maximum acceptable reading. It looks a bit like this:

Last reading + (expected usage x 2.5) = Your maximum acceptable reading

This gives them a decent estimate of what your opening meter reading should be, with some wiggle-room. All that’s left to do now is compare this figure to the opening readings you submitted.

What happens if the numbers don’t match up?

So what happens if your opening meter reading is higher than the maximum acceptable reading? It’s simple – we’ll just use the estimated figure instead.

What if your opening reading is lower than your last reading? In that case there has obviously been a mistake, and again we’ll just use the estimated figure in its place.

This doesn’t make a huge amount of difference for you – it just shifts the handover point slightly one way or the other.

Whichever way you look at it, there will always be a clear-cut point where you switch from the old supplier to the new one, and you will never pay for the same energy twice.

Getting off on the right foot

Providing an accurate & timely set of meter readings helps the whole switching process go smoothly! If you any need help reading your meters, don’t worry – we’ve create this handy guide with plenty of illustrations and simple instructions.

Please bear in mind that the explanation above has been simplified – the real calculations involve some pretty heavy maths!

If you have any questions about giving meter readings, we’re here to help – simply send an email to hello@eversmartenergy.co.uk.

How to submit a meter reading

How to submit a meter reading

From time to time you may be asked to give a gas or electricity meter reading. These readings are used to calculate your energy bill, and are especially important if you’ve just changed suppliers or moved to a new address. In this guide, we’ll show you how to take a reading from the most common types of meter.

In this guide:

 

Locating your meter

Before you can take a reading, you first need to locate your gas and electricity meters. They’re often hidden away in a cupboard, under the stairs or sometimes in a box on the outside of your property. If you have just moved into a rented home and you’re having trouble finding your meters, contact your landlord or letting agency.

Every property and meter will look different, but here’s a few examples to show you what you’re looking for:

Electric meter example
An example of an electricity meter in a cupboard (image source).
electric meter example
An economy 7 electric meter (image source).
gas meter example
An example of a gas meter on the outside of a property (image source).
gas meter example
A gas meter in a cupboard

As meters are often kept somewhere dark, it’s a good idea to take a torch and a pen & paper with you.

 

How to read your electric meter

Take a look through the pictures below and find the one that looks most like your electric meter, then simply follow the instructions underneath.

Digital Meter – Single Rate

single rate electric meter

How to identify this meter: This meter will have the words “single phase” or “single rate” on it. If your meter says the words “multi single phase” or “multi rate”, then please scroll down to the Two Rate electric meter section.

How to read this meter: Simply write down all the numbers from left to right, including any zeros at the beginning.

Digital Meter – Two Rate, Single Display

two rate electric meter

two rate electric meter

How to identify this meter: This meter will have the words “multi single phase” or “multi rate” on it.

How to read this meter: You will need to take two readings from this meter. Some displays will alternate every few seconds, as indicated by the small 1 or 2 on the left. Some meters will have a button that lets you flip between the two figures.

Note down each number in full from left to right, including any zeros.

Mechanical Digital Meter – Single Rate

single rate electric meter

How to identify this meter: This meter shows one long number on a mechanical display.

How to read this meter: Write down all the numbers from left to right. Include any zeros at the beginning, but don’t include the red number at the end.

Mechanical Digital Meter – Two Rate

two rate electric meter

How to identify this meter: This meter will show two long numbers on mechanical displays. The two dials will be labelled as either “low and normal” or “night and day”.

How to read this meter: You will need to submit two readings with this type of meter. Write down both sets of numbers from left to right. Include any zeros at the beginning, but don’t include the red number at the end.

Mechanical Dial Meter

dial electric meter

How to identify this meter: This is an older type of meter which uses a series of dials rather than numbers.

How to read this meter: Write down the number on each dial, including any zeros. You can ignore the red dial at the end.

  • If a dial is pointing between two numbers, write down the lowest number.
  • If the pointer is between 9 and 0, always write down 9.
  • If the pointer sits directly on top of a number, underline that number.
  • If an underlined number is followed directly by a 9, you should subtract 1 from the underlined number.

In the example above, your would write down 3 9 8 5 6. Your final reading would then be 2 9 8 5 6.

Note that some of the dials might go clockwise and some might go anti-clockwise.

 

How to read your gas meter

gas meter

Simply write down the numbers from left to right, including any zeros at the beginning. You can ignore the numbers in red or any number after a decimal point.

If you have an older imperial gas meter, it might also have a dial. You can ignore this – we just need the numbers on the digital display.

 

How to submit your readings

The quickest & easiest way to submit a reading to Eversmart is through our portal – you can login here.

You can also send us your readings by email. Send your readings along with your name, telephone number and account number to hello@eversmartenergy.co.uk.

What is a kilowatt hour? Your questions answered

What is a kilowatt hour?

If you’ve looked at your energy bill lately, you’ve probably come across the term ‘kilowatt hour’. It’s a confusing piece of jargon that trips may people up. In this article, we’ll explain what a kilowatt hour is and answer some other common questions.

What is a kilowatt hour?

Put very simply, a kilowatt hour (or kWh) is a unit of energy. Much like you pay for petrol by the litre or phone calls by the minute, you pay for gas and electricity by the kilowatt hour.

electricity meter
A meter displaying electricity use in kWh. Image source.

When you’re shopping around for gas & electricity, suppliers have to quote their prices in pence per kilowatt hour (Ofgem says so). This makes it easier to compare prices and find a good deal.

For those interested in the technical definition, here it is:

1 kilowatt hour is the amount of energy a 1kW device would use if it was run for one hour – approximately 3.6 megajoules.

For example, a 1 kW heater left running for 1 hour would consume 1 kWh (or 1 unit) of energy.

What is the cost per kilowatt hour?

There isn’t a standard price – it depends on both your energy supplier and the tariff you are currently signed up to.

Unit prices for electricity can range from around 12-18 pence per kWh. Gas is around 3-4 pence per kWh.

Note that you also pay a standing charge with most energy tariffs – you can find more information about standing charges here.

What’s the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt hour?

A kilowatt is a unit of power. The kilowatt (kW) rating of an appliance describes how quickly it uses energy.

A kilowatt hour is a unit of energy. It describes an amount of energy consumed.

Put it this way – if kilowatt was like the speed of a car, a kilowatt hour would be how far it has travelled.

How do I find out how many kWh I use?

Find out my kilowatt hour use

If you are shopping around for a new energy supplier, it’s useful to know how many kWh your home uses in a month. You can get this information from your current provider – either by looking at a paper bill or by checking your online account.

If you can’t find your exact usage, you can still compare prices using something called Typical Domestic Consumption Values – or TDCVs.

TDCVs are calculated by Ofgem using data from typical households, as shown below:

Fuel Usage kWh (annual)
Gas Low 8,000
Medium 12,000
High 17,000
Electricity Low 1,900
Medium 3,100
High 4,600

Source: Ofgem

For example, a small family living in a 3-bedroom house would probably be classed as a ‘medium use’ home. They could expect to use around 12,000 kWh of gas and 3,100 kWh of electricity in a year.

How do I reduce my energy consumption?

Concerned that your kWh use is too high and costing too much? There are two things you can do:

  1. Claim a free smart meter – this will help you monitor your energy use and take control of your spending.
  2. Switch to a cheaper energy supplier. Eversmart Energy offer some of the best value energy tariffs on the market. You can enter you details and get a quote in under two minutes here.

How to save water around the home

saving water

Did you know that the average household in England & Wales spends almost £400 a year on water bills? Or that around 15% of a typical household energy bill goes towards heating water? There are significant savings to be made if you can control your water use – read on to find out how…

Reducing water use

Use a water efficient showerhead

‘Low flow’ showerheads can make it feel like water is coming out faster and with more power than it really is. This will reduce the amount of water used per shower, saving you money on your water and energy bills.

Note that low flow showerheads shouldn’t be fitted on electric showers.

Buy water efficient appliances

Next time you’re shopping for a new washing machine or dishwasher, look out for the Water Efficient Product Label. Buying an efficient appliance model can lead to big savings.

unified water label
The new Unified Water Label. Image source: europeanwaterlabel.eu

Turn off the taps

A running tap goes through around 6 litres of water per minute! Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing the dishes.

Use a reduced capacity bath

Next time you remodel your bathroom, think about fitting a low-capacity bath. These specially designed bathtubs require less water to fill while still feeling just as comfortable.

It goes without saying that showers are much more water-efficient than baths, but if you are more of a bath person then a reduced capacity bath could be the way to go!

Fix that dripping tap

A dripping tap is more than just a nuisance – it can sneakily waste water and add to your energy bill.

Re-use water

Why use tap water to fill up your watering can, when you could use collected rainwater from a water butt instead?

Saving hot water

Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes

If your home has a hot water cylinder (it may not if you have a combi-boiler), putting a well-fitting insulation jacket around it could save you around £20 a year – or even more if you have an expensive immersion heater. Insulating your pipes will also help save money & energy.

Use your heating controls

Don’t waste money heating water when you don’t need it. Instead, take the time to familiarise yourself with your heating controls and timers.

Upgrade your boiler

If you have an older gas boiler, it may be time to upgrade it to a modern, energy efficient model. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save anywhere from £55-£200 per year by upgrading.

New boilers aren’t cheap, but there may be government schemes & grants available in your area.

 

That’s our list of water saving tips. If you have any more ideas, let us know in the comments section!

 

Sources

When can you switch energy suppliers without paying a penalty?

exit fees

If you try to switch energy suppliers before your contract is up, you could end up paying a penalty for leaving early – also known as an exit fee. Some energy suppliers can charge up to a whopping £75 per fuel! Read on to find out how to avoid getting stung.

Don’t let the fear of paying a fee stop you from getting a better deal!

Find out which type of tariff you are on

Exit fees usually only apply to fixed-term tariffs. These tariffs have a fixed price and a set end date.

Standard variable tariffs do not have exit fees, which means you are free to switch whenever you like without having to pay a penalty.

If you’re not sure which type of tariff you are on:

  • Look at a recent bill or email from your supplier
  • Log in to your online account
  • Call your energy supplier and ask

Check when your tariff is due to end

Your energy supplier cannot charge you an exit fee during the last 49 days of your contract. If you have less than 49 days left, you can go ahead and switch without being penalised.

Your supplier should write to you within the final 42-49 days to let you know your tariff is coming to an end.

Do the maths

Even if you do have to pay an exit fee, it might be worth it in the long run if the money you save by switching out-weighs the penalty.

You will need to check with your current supplier to find out what you will be charged. The table below shows the exit fees for some of the bigger energy companies:

Supplier Exit Fee
British Gas £30–£40 per fuel
Npower £20–£50 per fuel
E.ON £30–£75 per fuel
EDF £10–£40 per fuel
SSE £25 per fuel
Scottish Power £30 per fuel
Eversmart Energy No exit fees!

What if I stay with the same supplier?

If you let your tariff end without switching, your supplier should automatically move you onto their cheapest standard tariff. Ofgem rules state that they can’t put you on a fixed-term tariff with a termination fee.

It is very unlikely that you would have to pay an exit fee if you change tariffs but stay with the same supplier.

In summary:

  • You do not have to pay exit fees if you are on a standard variable tariff
  • You do not have to pay exit fees if your tariff ends in the next 49 days

Ready to switch?

If you are currently with one of the ‘big 6’ suppliers, you could save up to £400 per year by switching to Eversmart. Get started here.

 

The information in this article was correct at the time of publishing.

Sources

Are Smart Meters Compulsory?

smart meter installation

It’s a question we get asked a lot – are smart meters compulsory? Do I have to get a smart meter? Will the government make me get one? In this article, we’ll tackle some common questions & concerns about the smart meter roll-out.

If you’re unsure what a smart meter is, or whether you already have one, we’d recommend reading this article first – What is a smart meter and how do they work?

Do I have to get a smart meter?

The short answer is no – smart meters are completely optional, and you are not obliged to get one. You can still switch to Eversmart Energy and opt-out of getting a smart meter if you wish.

Some background

In 2016 the government began the smart meter roll-out. It is their goal to put a smart meter in every home & business in the UK by 2020. Smart meters are designed to save consumers money and make the energy grid more modern & efficient.

Energy suppliers (including Eversmart Energy) are responsible for supplying & fitting smart metering equipment at no up-front cost to the consumer. Suppliers are required “to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all of their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020”, as stated on the Ofgem website.

As a result, we offer a smart meter to every new Eversmart customer. It’s no secret that we think smart meters are great and that everybody should have one – but we won’t force you to have one installed if you don’t want it.

What does Ofgem say?

The following is taken from Ofgem’s 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.”

Why you should get a smart meter

Although they are not compulsory, smart meters offer a huge range of benefits. We’ve included a brief list of some of them below:

  • No more estimated bills. Your energy bills will be accurate and based on your real usage.
  • No need to submit manual meter readings to your supplier
  • You will also receive a free in-home display unit, showing your energy use & spending in near real-time
  • Smart meters are much more convenient for pre-pay customers. You can top-up remotely via app, phone or SMS

If you do opt to get a smart meter, it will be supplied & fitted for free by a qualified smart meter engineer. The installation process is fairly straightforward and is usually done in under two hours.

More information

If you have more questions about smart meters, there’s plenty more information & resources on our website:

8 Smart Meter Myths: Busted

smart meter myths

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.