Money Wellness
A woman holding a smart meter with a cup of tea
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calendar icon04 Mar 2024

Almost one million households will need a smart meter by 2025

The BBC has announced it’s switching off a 40 year old radio service, which means  almost one million households will be forced to fit a smart meter or face higher heating bills.

Why does a radio signal affect the price of my energy?

The BBC’s Radio Teleswitch Service (RTS) is a longwave radio signal that currently tells energy meters when to change their fees from high to low.

The RTS system is common in homes and businesses that just use electricity for heating and hot water.

If you’re one of the 900,000 customers on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff where power is cheaper at night, you’ll no longer have the RTS signal telling your meter to change fees.

This now means the only way to continues getting energy on these tariffs would be to use a smart meter.

Ofgem, the energy regulator, has said a lot of people might not know their current meter uses the RTS service. Their advice is for everyone on a variable tariff to check with their energy supplier whether their meter uses the RTS service.

When will I need a smart meter by?

Energy UK, a trade body for energy suppliers, agreed with the BBC and Ofgem that the service will be switched off on June 30 2025.

This switch-off will affect  customers across the UK; including 248,000 homes in Scotland, 232,000 in the Midlands and East Anglia, and 304,000 in London and southern England.

Ofgem has reportedly made it clear that all RTS meters have to be replaced with smart meters three to four months before the switch off, and energy suppliers will be aware of this.

Are smart meters better?

Smart meters have a display device to track how much energy your household is using more accurately. It sends these readings automatically to suppliers. This means customers are less likely to underpay or overpay for their energy usage.

But there are privacy concerns over how the data smart meters is dealt with, energy firms certain that only they can see your data and that information cannot be passed on to a third party without the customer’s permission, and Energy UK stating organisations with which your supplier has a contract may be given access to the information collected from your meter.

Not only that, but those who fall behind on energy bills can be remotely switched to pre-payment meters, meaning their energy may be cut off. Some have also suffered from technical issues.

Overall, smart meters will give you the ability to track your energy usage, and adjust your household habits to lower energy costs.

Need help with energy bills?

If you’ve fallen behind with your energy bills, the first thing you should do is contact your supplier to try to come to an arrangement. 

 

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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