What is a smart meter?
Produced in partnership with WSP Environmental
What is a smart meter?

The following Energy practice note produced in partnership with WSP Environmental provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is a smart meter?
  • A summary of typical metering methods in the UK
  • Automatic Meter Reading
  • Smart meters
  • Why use smart metering?
  • Roll out of smart meters
  • Summary

A summary of typical metering methods in the UK

Traditionally, the utility metering for a domestic or non-domestic building in the UK will be broadly similar. Each property is usually equipped with main meters for monitoring the electricity and gas consumption of the whole building for the purpose of calculating utilities charges. These meters display a continuous total consumption figure, which must be recorded and compared to the previous reading to calculate the total consumption for that period.

As standard, main gas and water meters need to be read manually, either by the utility supplier or by the building occupier. Estimation of consumption is common during periods where no reading is taken. Main electricity meters are usually read manually and subject to estimation in the same way.

Some properties also make use of sub-meters (also known as secondary meters), local meters that are installed to measure the amount of energy used in a specific area or by a particular piece of equipment. This is most commonly applied in non-domestic buildings to measure electricity consumed by tenants, or to measure the use of plant equipment, usually for service charge calculation. These meters are often read manually.

On 14 July 2016, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) which was the government department previously responsible for UK energy policy, was merged with the Department for Business,

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