Npower contacted me a few weeks ago to install my new smart meter. I was given a time frame of 8 am, until 12 pm yesterday. Two engineers arrived at about 9:30 am and were gone for 11:30 am. Two inspectors also turned up. One of the inspectors was accessing the workers, while the other was accessing the other inspector.
Normally one engineer will swap out both the electric and gas meters. However I was told there had been a rush up to Christmas, so now there wasn’t enough work.
Smart gas meter
My gas meter was replaced with a new gas meter with an electronic interface. See the picture below.
It took about an hour for this to be swapped out. Before disconnecting the gas, the engineer made sure all my appliances worked. The engineer then had to bleed the gas a little after reinstallation of the new meter.
Smart electric meter
The existing electric meter was swapped out for a smart meter. The down time was about 15 minutes at the most. The engineer told me that my freezer would have been OK for 8 hours if the door had been left closed on it. I wouldn’t be happy for my freezer to be off for more than a couple of hours.
The smart electric meter is the large unit with an LCD display.
Next to the smart electric Unit is a communications unit, the one with green flashing lights on it. The communications unit allows both the Smart gas and electric meter to connect to it using a form of Bluetooth. The Communications unit then allows NPower to dial up to automatically read your meters.
I am told that some of the existing meter readers are being trained up to install smart electric and gas meters.
Smart meter energy display
This is plugged into an electric socket next to my fuse board.
The engineers leave a booklet explaining how to use the display. I haven’t even bothered to look at the instruction booklet, it’s so easy to use. However, I am a trained Process control engineer and was an IT manager at HSBC for 15 years.
The smart energy display is preprogrammed with your existing Npower tariff.
When you are using energy the dial in the centre will start to show green at the top for gas and blue at the bottom for electricity. The display shows you how much electricity and gas you have used so far for the day. You can then toggle to daily, weekly, monthly and yearly use.
When I got up this morning my Unit was already showing 15p gas usage and 28p electricity use. My standing charge for gas is 15p a day and electricity is 25P. My electric usage since 12 am was 3p.
Benefits of a Smart meter
It will no longer be necessary for anybody to read your meter or send in meter readings. This means that you will know much more accurately how much energy you are using daily, weekly and monthly. This should ensure that you don’t get any surprises with large energy bills.
It will also allow you to check how much energy a particular electric device is using if you stop using other electrical devices at the same time.
There will certainly be a cost saving for Npower, as they will be able to more accurately bill you and won’t need as much human intervention to do it.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment.
All the best