Smart Meters Myth Busting Q&A with Yasir Choudhry, Metering and Settlements Manager

Bryt Energy
| 04th April 2024 | Energy

Smart meters are making it easier for businesses to become active participants in the UK’s journey to a net zero energy future, helping them to take control of their electricity usage all whilst supporting the development of a more advanced, more sustainable grid. With the upcoming implementation of market-wide half hourly settlement (MHHS) – which will make sure that electricity costs are calculated accurately and fairly for everyone across the market, every half an hour – smart meters will play a crucial role in preparing the UK to achieve a more energy-efficient future, faster.

That’s why, here at Bryt Energy, we’re on a mission to get all eligible customers switched on to second-generation (SMETS2) smart meters.

We know that you might have some questions around smart meters – from the compatibility of smart meters to what happens on the day of installation. So, we sat down with Yasir Choudhry, Metering and Settlements Manager at Bryt Energy, to understand some common concerns and answer important questions around smart meters for businesses.

1. What exactly is a smart meter?

“A smart meter is a self-reading electronic device that records the energy you use, and automatically sends this data to your energy supplier. They eliminate the need for manual meter reads, and make sure you’ll get bills based on the electricity you’ve actually used.”

2. Is it free to get a smart meter?

Yes, Bryt Energy can arrange a free installation of your smart meter between 8:00 – 17:00, Monday – Friday. We appreciate that sometimes this may not work for every business, so it may be possible to arrange an appointment on evenings or weekend, however there are charges for out of hours installations.”

3. Who is eligible to receive a smart meter?

“All Non-Half Hourly (NHH) customers, including those who currently have an AMR (Automated Meter Reading) or first-generation smart meter (SMETS1) are eligible to receive a second-generation smart meter (SMETS2)”.

4. Can I still get a smart meter if I rent a property?

“Yes – as long as you are the person who pays the energy bills, it’s up to you if you’d like a smart meter. If your landlord pays the bills, then you’ll just need to ask them for permission.”

5. What’s the difference between the first and second-generation smart meters?

“Second-generation smart meters (SMETS2) are cross-compatible with other energy suppliers, so if you decide to switch supplier, you won’t need to get a new meter. This level of flexibility is why we only offer our customers SMETS2 meters, rather than SMETS1.

“Also, SMETS2 meters have been designed to communicate using a more secure smart data network called the DCC – which enables them to be compatible with and communicate with SMETS1 meters. All remaining non-compatible SMETS1 meters will eventually be exchanged by SMETS2 meters across the industry.”

6. What’s the difference between Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Smart meters (SMETS2)?

“You can think of smart meters as the upgraded, more technologically advanced version of AMR meters. With AMR, it’s like a one-way street for communication—your data goes to a designated collector, and from there, it heads to the supplier. SMETS2, however, offer two-way communication between you and your supplier, which gives you the flexibility to switch suppliers without any hassle.”

“The flexibility that SMETS2 offer is also important to support the UK as it transitions to a net zero energy system. As we transition to using more sources of renewable electricity, which cannot be turned on and off like traditional fossil fuel generation, balancing electricity generation and demand will become crucial. By helping the grid to better understand electricity usage patterns, SMETS2 are playing a vital role in creating a ‘smart grid’ – an advanced alternative to a traditional energy network, which uses digital technology to efficiently manage electricity generation, distribution, and consumption.”

“During the transition, there will also be an influx of transitional technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicles. SMETS2 will be important in providing the flexibility to accommodate these technologies – leading the way to net zero, faster!”

7. Will my smart meter work with my building and IT infrastructure?

“Our smart meters are highly likely to work with your building and IT infrastructure. As long as there’s wide area network (WAN) coverage in your area, the second generation smart meter should work.”

“There may be rare cases where a meter will not work – it would be hard for signals to reach through very thick walls or deep down in a basement, but even in these cases, we do have aerials which can help boost signal.”

8. Do I need to get a new smart meter every time I switch suppliers?

“No. In fact, SMETS2 smart meters can provide your business with a great level of freedom when it comes to switching energy suppliers. They’re specifically designed to work seamlessly across the energy industry, allowing you to transition from one energy provider to another without the hassle of replacing your meters.”

9. Are smart meters safe?

“Yes, smart meters are safe. They’ve gone through extensive testing regimes and are covered by strict EU and UK safety laws, ensuring that they don’t pose a fire, electrocution or health risk on sites. In fact, Public Health England conducted an independent assessment and issued a statement confirming there’s no risk or dangers to health from smart meters. They found that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is much lower than the exposure from Wi-Fi and mobile phones, and is well within guideline levels1.”

10. How will my personal data be used?

“As part of having a smart meter installed, you’ll be consenting to us remotely reading your smart meter on a daily basis – but you can opt out of this at any time. If you choose to opt out, we’ll only check your meter once a month so that we can obtain an invoicing read and assist in any business processes, such as a Change of Tenancy. We can also use your consumption data to offer you tailored solutions to help maximise the value you see from your electricity supply contract.”

Why choose a smart meter from Bryt Energy?

From removing the need for manual meter readings to making your bills more accurate, smart meters can save you time and help keep control on your spend. Smart meters can help take your business’s energy awareness and management to entirely new levels, all whilst empowering your business to play an active role in achieving a net zero future.

To learn more about the benefits smart meters can offer your business, visit here. If you have any questions around smart meters, please speak to our friendly team of experts by either filling in our web form or emailing us at smart@brytenergy.co.uk.

Sources
  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smart-meters-radio-waves-and-health/smart-meters-radio-waves-and-health

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