ENERGY MONITORS AND SMART METERS – THE SAME THING?
Judging from calls to the Heating Helpline, households are confused as to what the difference is between energy monitors and smart meters. Heating Helpline, the free advice service operated by B&ES (the Building & Engineering Services Association), explains how they differ.
15 June 2012 – Judging from calls to the Heating Helpline, households are confused as to what the difference is between energy monitors and smart meters. Heating Helpline, the free advice service operated by B&ES (the Building & Engineering Services Association), says that whilst both energy monitors and smart meters are designed to help you save money on your energy bills there is a difference: energy monitors can tell you how much energy you are using; smart meters take this one step further and tell your supplier how much energy you are using. This means no more estimated bills.
Bob Towse, Head of Safety & Technical at B&ES, explains further, “An energy monitor is a small gadget that estimates in real time how much energy you’re using, so you can see where to cut back. It clips onto your cables by your meter and you can install it yourself.
“Within the next few years a smart meter will replace your old style standard meter. It needs to be installed by your gas or electricity supplier and will send information on your energy consumption to your supplier, thus avoiding a meter reader having to enter your property. It usually comes with a display that looks like an energy monitor.
“It’s important to recognise that an energy monitor or smart meter on its own will not save you money but by showing you how much energy you use at different times, and for different tasks, it can make you more aware of your consumption. This may help you to see opportunities to use less energy and save money; for example by watching out for appliances that are being left on unnecessarily, turning things off standby and making sure all appliances are working as efficiently as possible”.
If you are wondering how you can get an energy monitor or smart meter, some gas and electricity suppliers give energy monitors away free. Check with your supplier to find out if they will provide you with one. Otherwise, energy monitors are available for around £40 from many high street shops that sell electrical goods.
The government wants all households to have a smart meter by 2020. Some energy suppliers have already begun installing smart meters and are offering some existing customers with old meters the opportunity to have a smart meter installed. If you want a smart meter you should contact your energy supplier to make your request. The timescale for getting a smart meter will depend on your supplier’s plans for the roll-out.
Further information on how to reduce energy bills and save energy is available via the Heating Helpline on 0800 810 8303 or at the website http://www.heatinghelpline.org.uk.
Issued on behalf of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) by Next Step Marketing Ltd
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Notes to editors
Since its formation in 1904, B&ES, the Building & Engineering Services Association (formerly the HVCA) has represented the interests of companies engaged in a wide range of building and engineering services including domestic heating and renewable technologies.
B&ES members are subject to regular, third-party inspection and assessment of their technical competence and commercial capability, carried out by an independent certification body at least every three years.
B&ES members who undertake gas installations are registered with Gas Safe – the gas safety watchdog body – and are also members of TrustMark, the Government-endorsed scheme designed to direct customers towards reliable tradespeople.
B&ES operates the Heating Helpline (http://www.heatinghelpline.org.uk) to provide consumers with free, impartial advice on every aspect of home heating.