How do I read a smart meter?

How do I read a smart meter?

17 September 2020

Gas and electricity are two primary bill types that make up a significant chunk of household utility costs, often calculated through gas and electricity meters.

A meter reading states how much gas and electricity your home consumes. The meters are usually located in the kitchen, hallway or outside in a meter box cupboard, which means you often need to step outside to get up-to-date readings.

In the last few years however, smart meters have come into play and made it easier for homeowners to keep track of their gas and electricity costs. Every smart meter arrives with an In-Home Display (IHD) which shows all of your energy consumption in near real-time.

Despite their convenience and ability to save costs, many people are still unsure about how smart meters work. In this article, we’re bringing you everything there is to know about smart meters and how they work.

What is a smart meter?

The last decade has seen smart technology become increasingly more common around the home. From televisions, speakers, fridges and beds, a growing number of household items are getting a smart upgrade.

Smart meters are part of the home influx of tech-savvy devices and replace your traditional gas and electricity meters. Smart meters automatically send your gas and electricity usage over to suppliers. This means you don’t have to read your meter, it does that for you.

You can also keep an eye on your usage, thanks to the IHD that shows near real-time consumption. There are two different versions of smart meters, and they work in slightly different ways. These include:


SMETS 1 communicates with your supplier through 3G. SMETS 1 smart meters are the first generation, which means they may not be compatible with new suppliers. Therefore, you may need to submit meter reads manually if you decide to switch.


As of 2018, a newer smart meter entered the market known as SMETS 2, which is more advanced than SMETS 1. The meter has a secure, purpose-built communication network that all suppliers use, meaning you can switch and keep your automatic meter readings.

How to read a smart meter

One of the primary benefits of smart meters is that it automatically sends the reading to the supplier, and you don't need to read them manually. However, you can still read the meter should you wish to do so.

Most smart meters – both gas and electric – have a smart reading option on the in-home display. You should be able to select this on the IHD and see your smart meter reading whenever you choose.

This can be handy if you have an older smart meter that won’t connect with your new supplier, or if you simply want to know your meter reading. Smart meters give you access to a range of options, including reading the meter and seeing how much gas or electricity you’re using.

Do I need to submit a smart meter reading online?

With a traditional meter, you can submit your meter readings online. This is done via the account you’re given when you register with a supplier. Companies require you to submit online meter readings so that they can send you an accurate bill.

How often you submit your meter reading depends on the bill type; it could be monthly, quarterly or yearly. With a smart meter, however, you won’t need to submit any readings online as the meter connects with the supplier automatically and feeds them accurate information.

The only time you might be required to submit a smart meter reading online is if you're switching suppliers. Otherwise, you can enjoy the benefits of a smart meter without worrying about having to provide gas and electricity meter readings manually.

For more information on your smart meter, see our guide for how to read a smart meter.

Don’t have a smart meter at home yet? Head over to our smart meter page to book your installation. We’ll install your smart meter at no extra cost in just an hour or two.