Smarten up on smart meters: 7 myths busted

Smarten up on smart meters: 7 myths busted

15 September 2023

The truth about smart meters: busting the myths

Smart meter myths. It’s likely you’ve heard one, two or even a few at some point. Despite being untrue, these myths can put people off having a smart meter installed.

So how do you know what’s true and what’s false? In this article, we’ll separate the facts from the fiction – so you can decide for yourself.

1. Can a smart meter be hacked?

Smart meters only measure your energy use. They don’t store any private information such as your name, address or bank account details. And they certainly don’t have the ability to see or hear what’s going on in your home. Plus, smart meters aren’t connected to your home internet.

Your smart meter is connected to a communication hub and this communicates through a private and closed system. This system is maintained to high security standards, and is endorsed by the National Cyber Security Centre – meaning your energy use data is safe and secure.

Find out more about smart meter safety and how your data is used.

Smart meter installations are actually making homes in Great Britain safer. This is because during a smart meter installation, we complete a basic safety check of your electricity supply and gas appliances to ensure they’re safe.

According to Smart Energy GB, in 2017 and 2018 combined, smart meter installers flagged more than 635,000 existing problems such as dangerous wiring and fuse boxes, and even faulty boilers. Many of these faults would have gone unnoticed if not for a smart meter installation.

2. Can I get a smart meter if I rent?

The decision to install a smart meter rests with the bill payer.

However, we recommend telling your landlord before booking your appointment. There may be rules in your tenancy agreement about how energy is supplied to the property, including the type of meter that can be installed.

Landlords are being encouraged to help their tenants benefit from the national rollout of smart meters. If your tenancy agreement says you need your landlord’s permission to alter metering at your property, your landlord or letting agency shouldn’t prevent it without good reason.

3. Are smart meters accurate?

With a smart meter, there are no more estimated bills. They send your meter readings automatically, so you don’t have to. The readings from your smart meter are used to calculate your bill, so you’ll only be billed for the exact amount of energy you use. This means your bills are always true to your actual use.

You can choose if we receive your readings monthly, daily or half hourly. We recommend opting into half-hourly meter readings, so you can see an overview of your energy use throughout the day. You’ll also see your peak energy use times, and where you might be able to reduce energy waste in your home.

Shell Energy customer? You can adjust your meter reading frequency online in My Account.

4. Do smart meters save money?

Smart meters can help you to save money by giving you more control over your energy use. When you get a smart meter installed, you’ll get an in-home display (IHD) that shows you how much energy you’re using, and how much money you’re spending – down to the penny. This can help you find smarter ways to save energy, which could save you money.

5. Are smart meters good for the environment?

Smart meters can have a positive impact on the environment, because they help to create a more energy-efficient system. With a more efficient energy grid, comes less energy waste and fewer carbon emissions.

6. Do smart meters give off an unsafe amount of radiation?

Smart meters pose no risk to your health. But don’t just take our word for it – Public Health England (PHE) has performed numerous tests and ruled that the level of radio waves smart meters produce is typically one million times less than the internationally agreed guidelines.

7. Can you switch suppliers with a smart meter?

Having a smart meter doesn’t stop you changing suppliers. If you’ve switched your supply to Shell Energy, and you’ve already got a SMETS2 compatible smart meter or an enrolled SMETS1 smart meter, you’ll continue to have smart functionality.

How do you upgrade to a smart meter?

Get in touch and we’ll install your smart meter at no extra cost – usually in just an hour or two.

  • To check eligibility, visit our smart meter page and book your installation today
  • If you’re a prepayment customer, call our friendly team on 0330 094 5802