How do smart meters work?

By: Shell Energy

30 Apr 2020

Smart meters were designed to eliminate the need for customers to manually provide their own meter readings. It automatically sends readings to your supplier for both your gas and electricity.

At the point of installation, your old meter will be removed and replaced. This will include a smart meter, a communications hub, and an In Home Display (IHD). The communications hub allows your meters to not only connect to each other, but also connect to the wider network which sends your energy usage to your supplier. They’re able to do this using HAN and WAN signals.

What is a HAN?

HAN stands for Home Area Network. It provides a two-way connection between your IHD and your smart meters.

What is a WAN?

WAN stands for Wide Area Network. A WAN is a network which allows your smart meter to connect to your energy supplier’s servers. All of the energy data goes through a secure network called the DCC (Data Communications Company), and then to your supplier. The DCC is operated by Capita PLC under a licence regulated by Ofgem. For more information on how your energy data is transmitted, check out our smart meter safety article.

The difference between gas and electricity smart meters

These meters are newer versions of existing gas and electric meters. There are some differences between both:

What is a gas smart meter?

A gas smart meter is powered by a battery which is placed within the meter, for safety precautions only your installer has access. Our installation team will let you know when it needs to be replaced. This usually happens every ten years, near the end of its battery life.

What is an electricity smart meter?

An electricity smart meter is powered directly from your electricity supply. If there is a power cut, your meter will store your information which also includes your IHD information. When your power is restored, your data is also restored and ready to access.

What are the benefits of smart meters?

Accurate billing

Your smart meter automatically sends the data to your energy supplier on a half hourly, daily or monthly basis to prepare your bill. This data then allows your supplier to provide you with accurate bills which show your exact usage, so there’s no shock when your bill comes through.

Keep track of your spending

With a smart meter and IHD, you can see exactly how much your energy is costing you in pounds and pence. You can also set your own spending budget, which will alert you when you’ve nearly hit your limit.

Track your energy usage

Your smart meter measures your energy usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh), which you can view in near-real time on your IHD. This can help you to reduce your energy consumption, and make energy conscious decisions that can lower your bill.

With smart meters comes the potential for savings, and it all starts with tracking your energy usage. If you’re keen to say goodbye to manual meter reads, and hello to energy savings, visit our smart meter page today.