We often look at technology and rue the day that it arrived.  Things were much simpler in ‘the old days’ we might say, but technology is here to stay and by embracing some of the latest technology, especially around energy use, can help us to know what we are using and to moderate (if required) our behaviour.

Why is it green?

Smart metering will help you to keep track of your gas and electricity use, to see how much you use, and when, and, more importantly, how much you may be wasting that is costing money.  It will also save you time as the smart meter will automatically send energy readings to your supplier meaning that no-one needs to come and read your meter (again using the earth’s resources) and your bill is no longer estimated, but will be accurate.

What’s involved?

Installed in just a couple of hours, it is a replacement for your old meter and then tracks your energy use in real time, as well as supplying an ‘in house’ meter that will help you to keep track.  Once you have one you can see what uses the most power.  Turn everything off (unless it is vital) then turn things back on one at a time (please start with your fridge freezer!).  You’ll be amazed at what appliance uses the most energy, see the difference between your TV being on whilst you watch and on standby while it just takes your money thanks to standby!

Can you DIY?

No.  This is one that must be fitted by a qualified installer.  Once installed, then you can get down to the investigations and experimentation.

How much does it cost?

Free for households that are using supplies from an installer who is part of the scheme, which is almost everyone, from large suppliers such as British Gas and SSE to smaller companies like OVO (a company that supplies 100% renewable electricity).

Does it save money?

Not in itself, but it will make you aware of the energy use and how it can be managed.

Can it be done in a church?

This depends on the energy supplier.  Small and micro businesses (those that employ less than 10 people) can obtain a free meter, but it depends on the supplier.  The advice here is to speak to your supplier on behalf of the church, stress the small nature of the number of employees and ask for a free meter.  It does, however, depend on the individual supplier.

Other Thoughts?

When the installation is being done, the installer will also do a safety check on the wiring, this won’t replace any statutory obligations for wiring and appliance testing, but every check helps.  There is a small hitch if you want to change suppliers as some meters are not compatible with other suppliers, so if considering a smart meter, check with your supplier and decide if that is a supplier with which you wish to stay.  After the meter has been installed you can choose how often you want to send your supplier the data, half hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.  The more often you send your reading the more information you (and they) will receive about your usage.