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Smart Metering in the UK

smart metering

The plan of the UK government is to equip every British household with smart metering by 2020.  That means putting in approximately 46 million smart meters and that is no small task.  It also means many people are wondering “what does this mean as a customer?” and “why do we need to this?”

First, let’s look at why this needs to be done.  The entire globe is concerned about levels of energy usage and the increasing cost of the shrinking supply.  Smart metering is about lowering those levels of consumption, which in turn, lessens our carbon footprint and protects our environment.  Countries across the globe are introducing smart metering for these reasons.

What makes a meter ‘smart’?  Most of us are familiar with an electric meter and all of its little wheels spinning.  We are also familiar with the shock of seeing the bill jump an unsightly amount.  Smart meters will allow you to easily see how much energy you are using and just when you are using it during the day.  It can be likened to an internet connection that constantly keeps itself refreshed.  An expected result of the smart metering is, hopefully, to make customers actively lower their overall energy consumption.

As for the question of what it means for customers, it means you can actively monitor the current usage reading, for one thing.  It means an end to your monthly ‘meter reading’ or having your usage estimated by your service company.  Your billed usage will actually be more accurate than with the previous meters since the machine directly communicates to the provider.

Another aspect to the smart metering is the built in support of micro-generation. This means a home can generate its own energy via solar panels or windmill, for example, and this enables homes to be more self-sustaining. Creating more local, renewable energy sources will become the ideal solution to doing our part to maintain our earth.

While the roll-out of smart meters in the UK has begun within limited testing communities, it has 9 years remaining to meet the scheduled conversion.  Many activists feel this is far too long considering the dire nature of the energy sector.  The government and utility entities involved insist the time frame is appropriate to complete the switch.

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