We have a smart meter!
We recently did our annual energy switch in August and moved over to Octopus Energy. It has been an extremely seamless and simple move over and so far, customer service has exceeded my expectations.
Unfortunately, my bills have gone up. I had such a good deal last year that even my old energy provider was intending on putting up my monthly direct debit by nearly £30. But I have a new tool in my arsenal to try to reduce those energy bills. I chose to move to Octopus for many reasons including green energy, value for money and customer service and, they were to provide me with a smart meter.
The switch was completed on 24th August and soon after that I received a phone call from National Grid to arrange for my smart meter to be fitted. This is the company appointed by Octopus to fit the meters. I was given a selection of dates with morning or afternoon times for the meter to be fitted. I was asked a few questions such as, is there easy access to our current meter and parking for the van. All is fine at our house as we live in semi-detached house with the meter on the outside of the house with lots of parking. The smart meter fitting was booked for 15th September.
What is a Smart Meter?
I have been keen to get a smart meter for more than a year now, but my previous energy provider could not supply it. The smart meter gives you a real-time measurement of energy usage. I know that from 1st October to 12th October we have spent £29.68 (excluding VAT) on electricity and £2.26 on gas. I love the knowledge and control this gives you.
The smart meter has made me much more conscious of our usage and you will often find me running around the house making sure everything is switched off to get my usage dial as low as possible. My smart device that lives in the kitchen has a dial which goes up or down to show you how much things are costing whilst you use them.
Here is the dial with just the washing machine on. The number means cost in pence per hour. The light is green.
Here is the dial with the washing machine and kettle on (just starting to boil). Now the light has changed to amber.
And here is the dial with washing machine, kettle and coffee machine on. And now the light has changed to red.
The fitting of the Smart Meter
On 15th September, the engineer arrived to swop over the ancient analogue meters over to the new smart meters. He estimated that the electricity meter was around 20 years old and the gas meter being much older, maybe as old as the house, forty years old!
The health and safety procedures from the engineer were impressive but this was live electricity he was dealing with so there were endless checks that power was off. He wore protective clothing and everything was double and triple checked.
He started with the electricity meter which took several attempts due to a very hard to manoeuvre cable. The new meter took maybe an hour to get in place and then the gas meter took ten minutes!
I was given a lesson on the how the handheld device worked, that sits in my kitchen and we were good to go. The smart meter was counting our energy usage!
The Smart Meter Challenge
I am handing over control over the cost of our energy bills to the boys! We are having a little weekly competition to see who can spend the least amount of energy over the next three weeks. We are going to leave the heating switched off for the next three weeks to make the next three weeks roughly equal in energy usage.
My week is the first week and I have very simply taken a £ reading from the 8:30am on Tuesday 10th Oct and will monitor what is used for one whole week. I am finding myself constantly running around the house switching off lights and games consoles that have been left on. I was guilty of leaving things switched on for too long, things like the oven or the tumble dryer so now I am ensuring that I only use it for the minimum time needed.
I am excited to see how the boys react when it is their week to run the energy. Will they be able to make an effort to switch things off and use less energy! I see this game as a real way to embed the energy savings into the boys and to get them to change their behaviour.
There is of course a reward, this is a competition after all. We will compare their weeks to mine and any money they have saved they get to keep! The competition is on.
Have you got a smart meter? Have you found that it has saved you money?