Smart meters explained

A smart meter is a digital gas and electricity meter that can send your readings to your provider for highly accurate bills. Smart meters can be displayed in the home where you can track your daily usage in dollars and what is costing you the most in the home. Most homes in Australia will use a smart meter as it is a readily available add on that is simple to set up.

So, how does a smart meter work?

Smart meters wirelessly send your energy usage to your provider; this can be updated every thirty minutes if necessary. Smart meters will soon replace old meters, as they are a much quicker and modern way of reading your energy. This means that you do not have to rely on having to take your own meter readings, or going off estimations when calculating your bill. Having a smart meter in-home display gives you real time usage on a daily basis, which means you have constant visibility on how much you are using.

What are the benefits?

  • Accurate bills: Smart meters give you real-time usage, and eliminate the need for estimated bills. This means you no longer have to take your own readings or have an engineer coming to read your meter in the home.
  • Understand your usage: You can see how your daily actions affect how much you spend on energy. It will enable you to be more mindful as you can see how much money you are spending on a daily basis.
  • Reduce carbon footprint: Along with being mindful, tracking your usage and looking to reduce it can enable you to run a more eco-friendly household.
  • Better tariffs: If your supplier encourages you to use a smart meter, it means that they will be able to look at energy patterns and in turn, provide you with a better deal.

Will it cost me more money?

No! Your energy provider will install your smart meter and there are no hidden charges. This means that you do not need to worry about any extra installation costs or hidden pricing from having a smart meter.

Will it save me money?

Having a smart meter will not save you money, but being able to track your usage habits will save your money, and the best way to do this is by having a smart meter that shows your daily usage. It can also indicate whether there could be other problems in the house, such as lack of insulation or a hidden draught, as your heating and air conditioning will have to work harder, meaning you will see a spike in daily price.

In summary, smart meters are an innovative add on from your energy provider to give you control and autonomy over how you use your energy. There is also future hope that smart meters will enable energy providers to produce personalised or ‘smart’ plans for their customers. Smart meters are also a brilliant way to keep customers mindful of how they are contributing to their carbon footprint from inside the home.

Author: Claire Stapley
Claire Stapley is's Energy Editor, based in Melbourne Australia. Claire is a founding member of News and Energy Team.