Smart meters can help you save money - and help save the planet

Property expert Phil Spencer

Property expert Phil Spencer - Credit: Archant

Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer: this is why everybody should get a smart meter in their home

A smart meter - monitoring energy use at home

A smart meter - monitoring energy use at home - Credit: Archant

More than 11 million smart meters have already been fitted in homes and small businesses across the UK and now TV property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer, along with comedian Susan Calman, are touring the nation to encourage more householders to choose a smart meter.

The power trio are visiting cities around the UK over the summer as part of the Smart Energy GB Campaign for a Smarter Britain (, talking to people about the benefits of the clever little devices which could help households save enough energy each year to power their home for a week - adding up to a national total of nearly £560m saved annually.

The beauty of smart meters is that they clearly show how much money a household is spending on energy every day, thereby making it more obvious that families might be able to save energy here and there by turning more lights off, turning down the heating a little, etc.

Indeed, if every home in the country got a smart meter it could save enough energy to power every household in Aberdeen, Cardiff and Manchester for a year.

Allsopp says: “How can you know you’re wasting energy if you can’t see it? I believe if we all get smart meters it will help make our country greener. My smart meter will be right up there with those things that I can’t imagine living without once I’ve spent enough time with it - a bit like Phil really.”

Spencer adds: “Choosing a smart meter over your current analogue one can save time, energy and money, so my message to the public on this tour will be to take a step closer to a home that does the hard work for you.”

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Here, the pair answer some of the questions they’ve been tackling on tour.

1. Do people have to have a smart meter?

Spencer says: “It’s not compulsory to have a smart meter, it’s completely your choice. The government requires energy suppliers to offer smart meters to all homes and small businesses across Great Britain by 2020, but whether you accept them is completely up to you.”

2. How much does a smart meter cost?

Allsopp says: “Getting a smart meter is free. It’s time for a change in how we use our energy - our current system is outdated. The analogue meters we’re used to are not fit for modern living. And that’s why we’re campaigning for people to choose a smarter Britain.”

3. How does a smart meter save 2-3% on energy bills?

“The smart meter itself won’t save you money, it’s your behaviour that will change,” explains Spencer. “The way you monitor and use your energy is what makes the difference to how much money you can save.

“With smart meters, you can see how much you’re spending in pounds and pence. By being better informed, you’re able to see what changes can be made to reduce your energy usage and consequently reduce your energy costs.

“Additionally, smart meters bring an end to estimated bills by sending readings to your supplier automatically, meaning you can be more confident to pay what you’ve actually used.”

4. Is the amount a smart meter helps you save worth the effort?

“The more effort you make, the more you save,” stresses Allsopp. “When the smart meter is in front of you, you engage with it and can see how much you’re actually using and when.

“Choosing a smart meter will save you time, energy, and money. A smart meter could help you save enough energy to power your home for a week.

“It doesn’t cost you anything to have one installed and it brings with it a number of benefits, such as being in control of your usage and no more shock or estimated bills.”

5. Are the meters just installed where the old electricity/gas meter was?

“Yes, smart meters replace your traditional analogue meters and are typically installed in the same place,” says Spencer. “You’re also provided at no extra cost with an in home display which is connected and is a visible display of the amount of energy you’re using. This can be placed anywhere in the home.”

6. What access is needed for a smart meter to be installed?

Spencer explains: “You need to get in contact with your energy company to arrange a free installation and they’ll be able to discuss the access you need. You’ll need to provide them with clear access to the meter and be at home for the installation.”