Get smart with your meter
Smart meters are pretty common these days, and they’re actually really useful. That little monitor sitting on your windowsill is constantly talking to your meters to track all the energy (and cash) you’re burning through and reporting it back to you. That’s incredibly handy information to have on tap when you’re trying to cut down on waste.
For one thing, that constant reminder of what your energy’s costing you is just the boot up the proverbials that most of us need to do simple, easily forgotten things like switch off unneeded lights.
It gets better. Getting a smart meter fitted can actually unlock better rates and plans from your energy suppliers. Getting detailed, more-or-less real time information on your energy use allows companies to customise your deal to offer cheaper rates at different times of day, like “off peak” periods when there’s less overall demand. With less “pressure” on the grid, it gets cheaper for businesses to supply your energy. That means they can “reward” you for using energy in those cheaper periods with a break on your rate. Armed with that information, you can then plan out your energy use to make the most of the cheaper times – like running your washing machine overnight, for instance.
In fact, smart meters are such a win/win proposition for you and your supplier that most companies will install one in your home for free! If you’re renting, you don’t technically even need permission from your landlord to get one, as long as the bills are in your name and you’re paying them yourself. That said, it’s probably still a good move to talk it over with them first, if only for the sake of a quiet life.
Naturally, what you stand to save by taking control of your energy use depends very much on what you do with the information. Smartening up your meter could easily mean you save an average of over £21 a year off your bills, though.