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Last edited 23 Dec 2015

Smart meter

The Government’s vision is that every home and small business in the UK will have a smart meter by 2020 [25]. This will require the replacement of over 53 m gas and electricity meters requiring 30 m visits to homes and small business.

Consumers will be offered an In-Home Display (IHD) and this will provide real time information on their energy use both in terms of consumption and cost as well as other useful information. This will allow the consumer to manage their energy, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Smart meters will also allow for easier switching between suppliers, end estimated billing and eliminate the need for meter readers to visit premises.

To protect consumers the Government has put safeguards in place to ensure that consumers are not subject to any sales pressure during meter installation and that consumers’ privacy is protected by providing them with control over their smart meter data.

By providing consumers with near real-time (potentially 30 minute settlement) data that reflects the true cost of supplying electricity a whole new supply and demand relationship will be established. Smart meters will facilitate a more reactive, price driven, demand-response from the consumer. Time-of-Use Tariffs (TOUTs), enabled by smart meters, will mean that energy consumers will need to be much more aware of what they are using and when they are using it:

Domestic users, who represent one third of the total demand for electricity but two thirds of the volatility will progress from passive bill payers to highly informed energy consumers and producers” [21].

As the deployment of smart metering proceeds an increasing range of market-led devices will become available to help consumers manage their energy use including; enhanced energy displays, smart appliances and home automation tools. These will be able to securely connect to the smart meter receiving and reacting to gas and electricity consumption and pricing data.

The introduction of a smart grid and smart meters are important elements in de-carbonising electricity in the UK. As this happens the relationship between the supply and demand of electricity will become very much more dynamic and interactive. The price of electricity will move away from a relatively fixed tariff to one where it may change every half-an-hour as it does already for many non-domestic consumers [26].

While the changes will inevitably bring some problems and issues, the prediction is that the average household bill will be reduced by between 5 per cent and 9 per cent between 2016 and 2030 compared to existing policies [12].


This article was created by --BRE. It was taken from The future of electricity in domestic buildings, a review, by Andrew Williams, published in November 2014.

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  • [12] Department of Energy & Climate Change. The Energy Act. Downloaded from https://www.gov.uk/. Accessed 15 February 2014.
  • [21] Henry, Pollock, Knight (Siemens). Smart Grids. European Future Energy Forum, Green Technology Theatre. 19-21 October 2010, Excel, London.
  • [25] ofgem. Smart Metering – what it means for Britain’s Homes. Accessed 26 January 2014.
  • [26] EDF. Factsheet, Half hourly metering terms explained. Accessed 8 January 2014.