A British Gas smart meter is the perfect way to keep track of your energy use and ensure your bills are accurate. Find out how to get a smart meter installed and what it can do to help you save money on your gas and electricity bills. After reading this you can say goodbye to estimated bills and hello to a more energy-efficient home!
What does a British Gas smart meter do?
The point of a smart meter is to send meter readings automatically to your energy supplier so that your gas and electricity usage is recorded accurately and the bills you receive are correct. You, the customer, can also keep track of how much energy you use on a daily basis.
A smart meter comes with a handy monitor that displays your usage in real pounds and pence. The display monitor is small - about the size of a 5” x 7” photo frame - and you can put it wherever you want in your house; it doesn’t have to stay near the meter.
Advantages of a smart meter
- See how much gas and electricity your household uses in (nearly) real time.
- Know how much you have spent on energy in the last hour, week or month.
- No more nasty surprises when the bills arrive.
Having a clear idea of your energy consumption and how much it costs is extremely useful. You’ll be able to make changes in your household to use less energy and lower your bills. For example, when you see exactly how much it costs to run the washing machine, you might think twice about putting it on when it’s only half full. You can use the information from your smart meter display to help you optimise your energy use and kick bad energy habits for good. After all, knowledge is power!
Here comes the science bit! There are two types of smart meters: SMETS1 and SMETS2. Since March 2019, British Gas has only installed SMETS2 meters. The difference is to do with how information is delivered; SMETS1 meters send meter reading data via the 3G network, while the newer SMETS2 meters use a more sophisticated method via Wide Area Network (WAN). If you already have a SMETS1 meter it will automatically be included in the technological developments to incorporate the older meters in the WAN.
How to get a smart meter
To get yourself one of these up-to-the-minute, new-fangled British Gas smart meters you need to be a British Gas customer. If you already get your gas or electricity, or both, from British Gas you can get a smart meter installed for free - that’s right, it will cost you absolutely nothing, zero, zilch, nowt.
Switching from a standard meter to a smart meter is straightforward:
- Use your British Gas online account to make an appointment for a gas engineer to come to your home. Choose the most convenient time for you.
- The appointment will last an hour to an hour and a half if you’re only having one meter installed, or up to three hours if you are changing both your gas and electricity meters from standard to smart meters.
- Your power will be switched off very briefly during the installation process.
- The British Gas engineer will explain how to use the in-home display monitor and answer any questions you have.
That’s it! You now have all your gas and electricity usage information at your fingertips. With your new-found knowledge you might want to look into switching tariffs to get a better deal. You will be able to switch to a different British Gas tariff if you want to; have a look at British Gas prices to see what’s available.
If you’ve been with British Gas for a few years it’s more than likely that you’ll get a better deal switching to a different energy supplier. Do a quick comparison to find out how much you could save by changing your gas and electricity provider. Don’t worry about having to change meters all over again; almost all energy providers can read smart meters installed by other companies so there shouldn’t be any problem with keeping your British Gas smart meter.
Can I change my prepay meter to a British Gas smart meter?
You certainly can! Just because you’re on a Pay As You Go tariff with a prepayment meter doesn’t mean you can’t have a smart meter. You’ll get all the same benefits of being able to see your daily, weekly and monthly energy usage but you’ll also be able to see clearly what your remaining credit is.
I’m a PAYG customer: how do I top up my smart meter?
You can top up your smart meter quickly and easily via the British Gas smartphone app or on the British Gas website. Of course, if you prefer to top up when you go to the shops you can still do so - just look out for the PayPoint or Payzone signs.
Smart meter problems
As with any appliance or gadget, every now and again you might run into a problem with your smart meter. Some British Gas customers have reported problems with the display monitor not working properly. Issues include displaying unrealistically low energy consumption, loss of connection between the display monitor and the meter, and meter readings failing to send correctly to the energy supplier.
Here are some solutions to try out if you’re experiencing smart meter problems:
- Move the display monitor closer to the meter.
- Check with your energy provider if they are having connectivity problems.
- The old favourite - switch it off and on again!
Remember: there is a difference between the smart meter and the in-home display! If you are contacting British Gas about smart meter problems, make it clear if the problem is with the meter itself or with the IDH.
British Gas smart meter contact number
If you have any queries specifically related to your British Gas smart meter, this is the number to contact:
Smart meter contact number
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
0800 980 6121
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm, Saturday: 8am to 6pm, Sunday: closed
Other British Gas contact details are available here.
Find out what’s really happening with the UK smart meter rollout! Read our full guide to smart meters, how they work and how to refuse one if you don’t want one.