Smart meter FAQs

There are lots of questions around smart meters. Here we have put together an FAQ section covering many of the questions you may have:

Can I refuse a smart meter?

Yes. You are under no obligation to have a smart meter if you do not want one.

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

No. You are free to shop around for an alternative energy supplier as you would when using a traditional energy meter.

How do I move suppliers if I have a smart meter?

You can move suppliers as you would have in the past. Either by contacting an energy company directly or using a comparison website or auto-switching service. If you have a newer smart meter your supply and automatic meter reading will continue without interruption. If you have an older smart meter you can still switch in the same way. Your smart meter is likely to temporarily lose some of its functionality after the switch. This is usually a quick fix and you may just have to give one or two manual meter readings in the meantime.

Can I switch tariffs if I have a smart meter?

Yes of course. Switching tariffs with the same or another supplier is easy with a smart meter. Once the switch happens, your smart meter will automatically update to the new tariff information. If you are changing suppliers you may lose some functionality but this is only temporary.

Do smart meters work for both gas and electricity?

Yes, both smart gas and smart electricity meters are part of the smart meter roll out across the UK.

What if I have a prepayment meter?

Some energy suppliers have started rolling out prepayment meters to their customers on these tariffs with more due to follow soon.

Do smart meters work with economy 7?

Yes you can get smart meters that work with economy 7. Once your economy 7 smart meter is set up your rates will show on your smart meter display.

Will smart meters work with solar panels?

Yes, you can have a smart meter that supports solar panels. However, you’ll need to check with your supplier as not all energy companies have set up their smart meters to read the information exported from solar panels. Owners of solar panels and smart meters will still receive their FiT payments as before.

How to put emergency electricity on smart meter

If you have a prepaid meter you’ll have an option to put emergency credit on your smart meter so your electricity supply doesn’t switch off if you are running low on credit. You can activate your emergency credit through the menu system on your smart energy monitor.

What happens if I already have an old smart meter?

There are some older smart meters out there known as non SMETS. These can only be read by the energy supplier that installed them. If you have one of these, it’s likely in the future you will receive an upgrade to a SMETS2 meter. If you have a first-generation SMETS1 your supplier will not replace this as it will continue to function.

Can I have my smart meter removed?

You are under no obligation to have a smart meter installed. If your property already has one that you do not want then you can ask for it to be removed. Your energy supplier could potentially replace it but may levy a charge. In most cases where a customer doesn’t want a smart meter, it can simply be put into dumb mode. This means it functions as a traditional meter and does not send information over the network.

Which smart meters are best?

All smart meters offer similar functionality and identical benefits, so it’s impossible to say that one is better than another. SMETS2 as the second generation is more advanced and has no problems functioning when you switch suppliers like the first generation. But otherwise, there are no clear benefits of one over another.

Can you get a smart meter as a landlord?

If you are a landlord and responsible for paying the energy bills, then yes you can apply for a smart meter at your rental property and for your own property.

Do smart meters work without Wi-Fi?

Yes. Smart meters do not use your Wi-Fi connection. Your smart meter sends information over an isolated and secure network connection.

Can a smart meter be installed outside?

Yes. If your old meters are located outside, the new smart meters will be installed in the same place.

How do I know if I already have a smart meter?

The biggest clue is you won’t have to supply meter readings manually to your energy supplier anymore. If you have an IHD or energy monitor that shows your usage and monthly spend. If you’re still not sure your energy supplier can confirm this.

How much electricity does a smart meter use?

A smart meter uses only 1KWH of energy per year to operate. That will cost you less than £1.

Can I buy a smart meter?

Smart meters are supplied free by your energy supplier. However, some clip on smart meters are available to buy online which can be attached to your existing device. It’s recommended that you contact your energy supplier in the first instance to find out their plans to roll out smart meters to your location before making such a purchase. Our article here goes into more detail on how to get a smart meter.

What does a smart meter look like?

A smart meter, on the face of it, doesn’t appear to look much different to a traditional gas or electricity meter. As with traditional meters, they can come in different shapes and sizes. Their differentiating feature is they tend to have a button that you can cycle through several displays when pressed. It is common for people to confuse the in-home display with the smart meter. These also come in different shapes but tend to have a larger display to show your energy spend/usage.


Hi, I'm Rob and I run I initially started this project 5 years ago when I was looking to switch energy suppliers and found there wasn't a website that provided simple, data backed reviews on all the suppliers available. Since then, I spent have a lot of time (too much some may say!) looking at all publicly available data about each supplier and writing reviews using this information. These reviews are updated as regularly as possible and any data is backed up by a source where necessary. I have also started writing guides on various energy related topics which hopefully you will find useful. If you find any issues, please use our contact form to let us know.

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