Like most websites Boost uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this site. Accept and Close

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are a new form of utility meter designed to give you accurate information on your energy use. They automatically send this usage data straight to your supplier, meaning that you don’t have to rely on estimates when it comes to billing. By 2020, the government aims to have replaced the old traditional gas and electricity meters, bringing smart meters to all UK households. As of the end of March 2018, there were over 11 million smart meters installed across the UK.

Having a smart meter installed in every household is an important part of the government’s plan to create a smart energy grid. Through these smart grids, they hope to change the way that we use energy, meeting carbon emission reduction targets and minimising the costs to consumers. But what is a smart meter and how would having one installed affect your household?

How do smart meters work?

Replacing your traditional gas and electricity meters, smart meters use mobile networks (known as the DCC) to maintain a connection to your supplier – allowing them to directly transmit information about your energy usage. This data will be collected by your smart meter every 30 minutes, meaning that it can provide up-to-date figures.

Most smart meters will come with an In-Home Display (IHD) or a downloadable app such as the one offered by Boost, which will tell you exactly how much energy you’re using and the daily cost – all in real time.


What are the advantages of a smart meter?

  • The main benefit of a smart meter is that your bills will be more accurate and won’t be estimated.
  • You’ll gain a better understanding of how much energy you use, when you use it and how this impacts your bill.
  • Help the government modernise Britain’s energy system – as we mentioned before, the government aims to use smart meters to help create a smart energy grid, bringing more efficient and reliable energy to the nation.


Do I have to have a smart meter?

Despite the government advising that smart meters form a big part of their future vision and stating their goal to have them fitted in every household, they’re not actually compulsory. Instead, it’s hoped that energy suppliers will encourage their customers to use smart meters and naturally increase the transition to this technology.

There could be disadvantages to not having a smart meter installed. As smart meters become more common, you may find that not having one means you’re unable to access many of the tariffs available from energy companies. Your energy company probably has (or will) contact you to offer one, but you’re well within your rights to say no or opt to have one fitted at a later date.

If you want to find out more about your smart meter rights, you can head to the Ofgem website.


Are smart meters free?

There is no cost upfront to have a smart meter installed. Instead, the cost of your smart meter will be paid for through your energy bills.

How to read a smart meter

Due to the way the technology works, you won’t need to read your smart meter in order to submit readings to your energy supplier. Your smart meter will ensure that accurate readings are sent on a regular basis, allowing for accurate billing. However, people often find it useful being able to regularly check up on their energy usage.

The simplest way to do this would be to request an In-Home Display (IHD) or download the Boost app. This way you’ll be able to see everything you need to know clearly.

If you want to read your smart meter, just head to the  'How Do I Take a Reading on my Smart Meter' section of our website, where you’ll find step-by-step instructions.


Getting a smart meter couldn’t be easier as your energy supplier should offer you the option to have one fitted. With Boost, you can get set up in just four easy steps.

  1. Book – Just book it with us, picking an installation date and time.
  2. Visit – One of our engineers will visit you on the date specified and fit your new smart meter.
  3. Upgrade – We’ll upgrade you to our Smart PAYG+ system, allowing you to track your energy usage and pay online.
  4. Enjoy – Once you’re all set up, you can sit back safe in the knowledge that your smart meter readings are being sent to us regularly.

Click here to get a quote today.