Smart meters give both you and your energy provider accurate and regular updates on how much electricity and gas you use. Like traditional gas and electricity meters, smart meters measure your energy use. The main difference is that they automatically send this information over wireless networks to your supplier. Your smart meter will come with an in-home display (IHD), which will show you how much energy you use in real time, and how much it's costing. By giving you this information, smart meters should help you to better control your energy use. You might also be able to get this information through your online account with your energy company, or its app.
Smart meters replace your existing gas and electricity meters. They use wireless networks, similar to mobile phone networks, to send data directly to your energy supplier about how much gas and electricity you're using. This means you won’t have to read your gas and electricity meters any more, and your bills won’t be estimated. Smart meters are different from energy monitors. While energy monitors can show you how much electricity you’re using, they don’t communicate this information to your provider.
When you get a smart meter installed, you'll get a smart electricity meter, a smart gas meter, and an in-home display (IHD). These elements will talk to each other wirelessly. Electricity smart meters are connected to the mains, and monitor how much power you're using in real time. Gas smart meters are battery powered and 'asleep' for most of the time, waking up every half hour to give a reading and communicate this via your electricity meter. An electricity smart meter is connected to a communications hub. Sometimes the hub is built into it. This allows it to communicate with your IHD, using the smart meter home-area network. It also talks to the wider Data Communications Company (DCC) network, via the smart meter wide-area network, so it can send your energy-use data to your supplier.