Hundreds of thousands of smart meters take up space on walls, either not activated or not fully utilized. We look at what they could and should do for customers.
What is a smart meter?
It is a meter that continuously records electricity consumption in the home or premises where it is installed and automatically transmits updated information every 30 minutes to a central ESB Networks database.
Conventional measuring devices, on the other hand, continuously record usage, but have to be read manually. They don’t show how usage varies over a given period of time. They are only read by ESB Networks four times a year.
What are the advantages?
Accuracy is improved. With traditional meters, customers are billed six times a year, so they have to self-log their usage for two billing cycles or receive estimated bills.
However, smart meters transmit automatic readings and give customers insight into their electricity consumption so they can decide how much and when to use.
This helps them find providers that offer “duration” or smart plans that best fit their usage patterns. Smart tariffs vary the prices for using electricity at different times of the day.
How do I get a smart meter?
ESB Networks are responsible for installing them and do so on a regional basis. They installed 930,000 through September and are adding an average of 10,000 per week.
Are you free?
There are no direct fees, but the cost of the project is estimated at €1.2 billion and these costs are passed on by ESB Networks to the suppliers, who pass them on to customers via their invoices.
Is a smart meter mandatory?
no Customers can decline one, although ESB Networks says they’ll come back to them at a later date and see if they can change their minds.
How do I get a Smart tariff?
Once your gauge is installed, your current provider will contact you with options. They are obliged to get in touch with you within three months. They are also required to offer at least four different smart tariffs.
What savings am I making?
A pilot project showed customers with smart tariffs reduced their peak-time electricity consumption by 8 percent and their overall consumption by 3 percent, which should result in cost savings, but the energy regulator said supplier offerings through September weren’t as competitive or attractive as they were they would have to be.
What if I’m not better off with a smart tariff?
You can keep your existing contract, but you can also request “Energy Insights” from your supplier, which will show your meter readings and may help you find ways to reduce your consumption without switching tariffs.
Where can I do my own research?
Price comparison sites bonkers.ie, switcher.ie and powertoswitch.ie are all accredited by the Energy Regulator to help you compare providers and rates.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/explainer-what-smart-electric-meters-are-how-they-work-and-how-you-could-save-money-by-having-one-installed-42008131.html Explainer: What smart meters are, how they work, and how you can save money by having one installed