How the installation process works
Here's what you need to know about the installation process:
Contact your supplier
Contact your energy supplier to see if they offer smart meter installations for small businesses. If they do, they will arrange for a qualified installer to visit your premises. If you're unsure who your supplier is, contact your Third-Party Intermediary (TPI) or broker. They will be able to tell you who your supplier is and request a smart meter for you.
The installer will conduct a pre-installation survey to assess the current metering set up and the suitability of the site for a smart meter installation. They will also confirm the installation date and time with you.
On the day of installation, the installer will replace your existing energy meter with a smart meter. The installation process usually takes around two hours, depending on the complexity of the installation.
During the installation, there may be a short interruption to your electricity supply. This is because the installer will need to disconnect your old meter and connect your new smart meter.
However, the power outage is typically very brief, usually lasting no more than a few minutes. The installer will inform you of any expected power outage beforehand, so you can make arrangements if necessary.
It's also worth noting that if your smart meter is being installed in a commercial or industrial property, the installer may be able to isolate the meter during installation, which would prevent any interruption to your business operations. Please talk to your supplier if you are worried about your energy supply being cut during the installation.
In any case, the installer will work quickly to complete the installation process and restore power as soon as possible.
Once the smart meter is installed, the installer will carry out tests to ensure that it is working correctly. They will also demonstrate how to use your smart meter data and provide you with user manuals.
Your energy supplier will provide you with ongoing support, including access to data on your energy consumption and advice on how to use this information to reduce your energy usage.
There are a few important things you’ll need to prepare before your smart meter installation. Firstly, make sure you know where your current gas and electricity meters are located and check that they’re easy to get to. If you think this might be an issue or you believe your current gas and electricity meters are difficult to access or locate, please let your energy supplier know well in advance.
Your supplier will have been in touch to arrange this installation. They will never turn up on your doorstep unexpectedly. When the installer arrives, they'll take all reasonable steps to keep you safe. They should present you with a valid identity card including the company name and phone number, as well as their name and photograph. You can ask to see this if the installer does not present it upfront. You’ll need to be present during the installation, which will take around an hour for your gas meter and an hour for your electricity meter, during which time your energy supply will be cut off for a short period.
Once your smart meter has been installed, the installer will talk you through how to use your new in-home display. If a gas meter is being installed, the installer will also perform a visual safety check on your gas appliances as part of the installation. It’s worth remembering that smart meters are provided at no extra cost, so you will not have to pay your smart meter installer.
Before your installation
What if I have different energy suppliers for my gas and electricity?
If your home’s gas and electricity are supplied by different suppliers, we suggest having your electric smart meter installed before your gas smart meter.
How are energy suppliers making installations safe?
The smart meter installation process is planned with the consumer in mind. This includes providing important information to the consumer before installation and ensuring that the engineers cary out the installation in a courteous and professional manner.
Also, if you or someone you care about is worried about COVID-19, please inform your energy supplier of the situation Your energy supplier could relay this message to the engineer, which could improve the installation experience. For the latest regulations surrounding COVID-19 for each nation, please refer to the links below:
Advice for business getting a smart meter installed
Can I get my smart meter installed outside of business hours?
Yes, it is possible to arrange a smart meter installation for your small business outside of business hours. Most energy suppliers will offer flexible installation times to accommodate your business needs, including evening or weekend appointments.
When you contact your energy supplier to arrange an installation, be sure to let them know if you require a specific time slot outside of regular business hours. They will do their best to schedule an appointment that suits your needs and minimizes any disruption to your business operations.
Do I need to be there for the installation?
You will need to let the installer in on the day and make sure they can get access to your traditional meters. So you might need to clear out the cupboards. If you have any access issues, do let your supplier know.
During your installation
Depending on whether you're having one or both replaced, you'll get an electricity smart meter and/or a gas smart meter. These smart meters normally go exactly where your old meters were. If they need to be fitted nearby, the installer will ask you first.
Different suppliers may install different smart meter makes and models, but rest assured that every smart meter installed as part of this national rollout must meet a common set of technical standards.
During the installation, the installer has to:
- show you a photo ID card before they start
- explain what your smart meter system does and how to use it
- check it’s all working properly
- give you a handy guide to using it
- answer any questions you have
- tell you where you can find more help and information
- demonstrate the IHD if the customer has requested one
- provide energy efficiency advice
After your installation
Once your smart meter is installed, your meter readings will automatically be sent to your energy supplier, meaning you will receive accurate, not estimated bills. And because all smart meters are certified by the Office for Product Safety & Standards, you can be sure your smart meter is accurate.
You will be able to control how often your smart meter takes a meter reading and how much data your smart meter sends to your energy supplier. This can range from half-hourly, daily, or in some cases, monthly meter readings.
Will the person who installs my smart meter be properly qualified?
Yes, all installers have to pass a formal qualification and have to meet specific national standards. These standards are set out in the Smart Metering Installation Schedule. All the energy suppliers have signed up to this code, which is regulated by Ofgem, who have powers to enforce it by fining suppliers if necessary. So you can be sure the installation of your smart meter is safe.
Want to find out more?
- Smart meter benefits – find out how requesting your smart meter can benefit your bills, as well as your carbon footprint.
- Tips to tidy up your energy use – discover how making small changes at home can help you reduce your electricity and gas bills, including getting a smart meter.
- Switching supplier with a smart meter – smart meters are not a barrier to switching energy supplier, so don’t let that stop you requesting one.
How is my personal data kept safe when I have a smart meter?
Personal information such as your name, address and bank details are not stored on your smart meter. The meters simply record your gas and electricity readings in the same way as your traditional meter. The meter readings collected can only be shared with your energy supplier to allow them to prepare an accurate bill and they cannot share this without your permission. The data is transmitted safely, using a dedicated and secure wireless network. All this information about your energy use is strongly protected. Depending on what you've agreed with your energy supplier, your smart meter will share half-hourly, daily or in some cases, monthly meter readings. You can change your preference at any point by getting in contact with your supplier directly.
If you have given them permission to do so, your energy supplier may also use this information to offer you tailored energy efficiency advice and improve the service they provide for you.
Do I need one smart meter for gas and another for electricity?
Yes, if you're a dual-fuel customer, both meters will need to be replaced. Your supplier will aim to install both meters on the same visit to make things as easy as possible. If your gas and electricity accounts are with different suppliers, you will have two separate smart meter installations - one from each of your suppliers.
If your business’s gas and electricity are supplied by different suppliers, we suggest having your electric smart meter installed before your gas smart meter. We have a lot more information about smart meters and the installation process on our installation process page.