Technology To Look Out For
- Smart energy tariffs, including time-of-use tariffs, which charge lower prices for electricity when its cheapest.
- Smart appliances that respond to the grid. For example, fridge freezers that turn off for a short period when theres a nationwide spike in electricity use, or washing machines that turn on at off-peak times when electricity is cheaper.
- Home batteries that store electricity generated by solar panels, or from the national grid. Moixa is already paying households £50 per year to install a home battery which charges when theres surplus power in the network, and exports it again when electricity demand is high.
- Electric vehicle charge-points where you could charge your car when electricity demand is low, and be paid if you feed electricity back into the grid when its needed. Nissan is looking at whether electric cars could be used as virtual power plants.
*Online survey: 1,265 Which? members with solar PV, Jun 2017.
How To Read A Smart Meter With Solar Power
If you have just had solar installed or if youre considering getting solar power for your home, you may be wondering how to read a smart meter with solar power. Once you have the know-how, it will be easy to check and see how much you are saving, how much is going into the grid and how to monitor your usage so that you can put in place new behaviours and habits to save on your power bill.
Smart meters have been rolling out across the country over the past few years, with the promise of changing the way in which we think about and view our energy use. Smart meters give customers upfront information on their energy use and allow energy companies to collect data remotely rather than coming out and measuring usage in person every quarter.
In the past, disputes between energy providers and consumers have occurred because the meter readers have been unable to access the meters. Examples include dogs chasing away the meter readers, fences are in the way, shrubs have hidden the meter or the meters have been placed in a difficult spot to get to.
This leads to the dreaded energy use estimate which in most cases, is a lot more money than the customers usual energy bill. The incorrect estimates have removed the trust between consumers and the energy companies as it is usually hard for customers to get in touch with their electricity providers and resolve the problem.
Will I Still Be Eligible For The Seg With A Solar Battery
If you have a solar battery you could still receive payments through the Smart Export Guarantee. However, not all tariffs will pay for energy that has been stored in a battery. This is because the energy may not be renewable solar energy and instead generated by fossil fuels. So it’s worth checking the terms set by your energy supplier.
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How To Read A Mechanical Meter With Dials
If you have a really old electricity meter, it will have dials that you have to read. These meters are rare, and I give instructions on how to read them here: solarquotes.com.au/oldmeter.
How to read a mechanical meter with reels
Figure 2.5 A mechanical meter with reels.
The meter shown in Figure 2.5 is super easy to read the only thing to look out for is the decimal point .
This meter reads 36,879.3 kWh .
How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost
A solar battery storage unit can cost anywhere between £500 and £10,000 and even higher in some cases. This price will vary depending on the manufacturer, model, storage capacity and any other additional features. Some of the leading solar battery manufacturers include Tesla, Powerwall, LG.
In addition to the cost of the solar battery itself, you will also need to factor in the installation. Solar battery installation typically costs £500 to £2,000. To find the most competitive price for a solar battery storage unit, we highly recommend comparing multiple quotes. With Solar Guide, you can get free quotes from up to 3 solar battery installers based in your local area.
Find out more about storing solar energy in Solar Battery Storage: The Best Solar Batteries.
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Smart Meters Solar Panels And The Smart Export Guarantee
The Smart Export Guarantee has been introduced as a replacement to the Feed-in Tariff, which ended in 2019. Through the SEG, homeowners generating renewable solar energy can receive payments from their energy supplier. The tariff is based on each unit of electricity sent to the National Grid.
During the time of the Feed-in Tariff, it was estimated that around 50% of generated solar energy was sent to the Grid. So, for any home providing more energy than that to the National Grid could have been underpaid.
Now, thanks to smart meters and the Smart Export Guarantee, homeowners will be paid more accurately for how much electricity is being sent to the Grid.
As part of the Smart Export Guarantee, UK energy suppliers that have more than 150,000 customers are under a legal obligation to pay their customers for each unit of electricity exported to the National Grid from their solar panels. Energy suppliers are free to set their own tariffs. Those suppliers with fewer than 150,000 customers can decide whether to join the SEG.
To be eligible for SEG, small-scale renewable technologies in other forms are eligible too:
- Solar photovoltaic panels
- Micro-combined heat and power
- Onshore wind
- Anaerobic digestion
Find out which energy suppliers offer the highest possible earnings to solar panel owners in Compare Smart Export Guarantee Tariffs.
Instructions: How To Read A Smart Meter With Solar Power
How to read a smart meter with solar power is reasonably easy once you know how it all works. Here is the step by step process. Because there are different brands of smart meters, this information may not be entirely accurate for your meter, but it will give you an idea of what each of the readings means. For this example, we are going to use an L& G smart meter.
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How Can I Read My Smart Meter
While smart meters generate more detailed data on electricity supply and export, the meter itself doesn’t display this information for the household.
Instead, customers can only access this information through a third party their electricity retailer or distributor or by investing in an in-home display.
The simplest and cheapest way to read your smart meter is through your energy retailer’s app. Powershop, Origin Energy, AGL, Energy Australia and Simply Energy all have apps which allow you to track your energy usage using smart meter data, while most other retailers will display this information on your online account.
The simplest and cheapest way to read your smart meter is through your energy retailer’s app
Alternatively, you can buy an in-home display to keep an eye on your usage.
These devices show in real time how much electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you.
In Victoria there are incentives available under the Energy Saver Incentive scheme to support the installation of in-home displays.
Do Smart Meters Interfere With Solar Panels
Do you remember when energy supplies were simple? There was gas and there was electricity. That was it. You used a certain amount of gas and electricity and you paid what you were asked. Now youve got lots and lots of choice, which is clearly a very good thing.
Even very good things can have a few minor problems, though. And one of the problems with the UK energy market is that customers can sometimes find it very confusing. One of the reasons for this is that, as of last December, there were no fewer than 62 companies supplying gas or electricity in the UK. Multiply that by the number of tariffs each company is offering, and its easy to understand why customers sometimes feel overwhelmed and take the approach of putting their heads in their hands and quietly sobbing Take what you want, please just keep the lights on. And thats before mentioning other factors like smart meters. And solar panels. And smart meters and solar panels and whether the meters interfere with the panels.
Confused? Let Look After My Bills explain.
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How Solar Panels Work
If we use the words photovoltaic cells, you dont have to worry that were going to go all science and technology on you. This is just a description of the interior of a solar panel, which sits up on your roof, soaking up sunlight and using those photovoltaic cells to turn that sunlight into electricity.
You dont have to worry about the fact that you live in the UK, with its fabled two days of really sunny weather every summer, because solar panels still generate electricity on cloudy days, just not as much as they do when the sun is genuinely beaming down. Once youve had solar panels installed, theyll feed electricity into a meter in your home and then on to your electric supply. The electricity you use from your solar panels is free, and you only pay if you have to fall back on the power from your supplier.
It gets even better
In fact, under the feed-in tariff mechanism, which ended in March 2019, and the proposed Smart Export Guarantee tariff , customers will actually get paid for any left-over energy they produce which is then fed back into the national grid.
What was that about smart meters?
Well, there have been some concerns that smart meters might interfere with solar panels, and impact on the amount customers end up paying. But first of all you may have a few questions about the meters themselves. Dont worry, weve come prepared for that:
What’s The Difference Between First And Second Generation Smart Meters
While the first wave of smart meter installations was executed with first-generation smart meter devices , there have been a lot of issues connected to them. One of the most common problems was that the smart meter could go dumb or stop recording when the consumer is changing suppliers.
Most of the first-generation smart meters were using a 3G mobile network. Another problem connected to the old devices was that there wasnt a unified network that manages the smart meters and therefore the devices were going dumb when switching suppliers.
In other words, the smart meter would stop sending automatic readings to the new energy supplier and manual readings would be requested. Therefore, the government pushed the deadline for the smart meter rollout and companies came up with the improved second generation smart meter devices .
The new devices are an upgraded version of their predecessors and most of the issues were cleared. The second-generation devices were launched in 2018 and a special network was built so that all suppliers can manage them.
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How Do I Read My Meter
It is important that you understand how to read your meter. Providingus with the correct reading will ensure that the bill you get from your retailer is accurate.
If you use our self-read portal, the guide for your particular meter is available via the personalised link in our notification email or SMS.
If you are using our phone system, refer to the”How to” guidesbelow to assist you.
If you have a digital meter, refer to the first 4 digits of the meter serial number and refer to the relevant brochure.
What Is A Smart Meter
A smart meter measures the amount of electricity and gas being used by your property just like a traditional meter. The key difference being that smart meters automatically deliver this information to your energy supplier via wireless communication. This provides the supplier with regular and more accurate readings so your energy bills will no longer be estimations.
Smart meters also come with an In-Home Display . This is a small screen that gives clear visibility of how much energy is being used in your property in near real-time.
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I Have A Smart Meter That Does Not Transmit Data Can I Submit A Self
Customers with either an older-style accumulation meter or a smart meter with communications features switched off , can submit a self-meter read to their retailer. This allows you to avoid receiving an estimated bill.
Retailers must arrange for one actual meter read over the course of the year so that the usage and what you have paid for electricity is accurate.
This service may incur a charge depending on the situation.
I Have Privacy Concerns About My Meter Data What Can I Do
Your energy data and personal information is classified as confidential information under the National Electricity Rules and the Privacy Act 1988.
There are safeguards in place to protect consumers from unauthorised access to metering data and its services. For example, data showing that your meter exports solar energy during the day is protected information.
Access to metering data is limited to registered energy market participants, such as retailers and meter providers.
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I Live In A Newly Constructed Home How Do I Get A Smart Meter
All residential buildings constructed after 1 December 2017 are required to have smart meters. If your home was built before this date, you can contact your retailer to get a smart meter installed.
The meter must be installed within six business days or an alternative date you agree to.
If the meter cannot be installed for any reason, your retailer will contact you and schedule another time to install the meter.
What Are Smart Meters
Smart meters are basically a smart upgrade of the old gas and electricity meters and according to the governmental rollout, all households are supposed to have one by 2020. A smart meter can read your exact energy usage in real-time and send it automatically to your energy supplier. This means that the new technology also puts an end to the estimated energy bills.
Furthermore, smart meters are coming together with a portable device called, In Home Display, which shows the electricity and gas consumption in pounds and pence. The device comes with the option of providing the consumer with different ways on how they can decrease their energy usage while reducing their bills.
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Will I Be Remotely Disconnected Without My Agreement
You will not be remotely disconnected without your agreement unless the retailer has provided you with multiple warning notices and made attempts to contact you in line with the National Energy Retail Rules. You will not be remotely disconnected if you have registered life support equipment at the premise.
There are certain circumstances when a retailer can disconnect a customer without their agreement. The same rules and consumer protections apply regardless of whether the customer has a manual meter or a smart meter.
If you have been disconnected because you have not paid your electricity bill, call your retailer immediately to pay your bill and arrange for your electricity supply to be switched back on. Before your retailer can disconnect you, they must send notices for bill payment reminders and disconnection warning notices.
What If Additional Electrical Work Is Needed
Occasionally the meter installer may identify additional electrical work or that a meter board needs to be upgraded before you can put in a smart meter.
If you need additional electrical work, the meter installer or retailer will advise you to contact an electrician or Accredited Service Provider . You will need to pay for electrical upgrade work to be done. Read more about installing or altering your electricity service.
A meter board may need to be replaced for various reasons such as old wiring, not having an isolation switch and not having enough space on the board. Meter boards do not typically need to be replaced if they have asbestos.
The board needs to be replaced to make sure it complies with current safety standards. You will need to pay for the upgrade.
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Economy/controlled Load Tariffs Explained
Most people in Australia can use electricity at a cheaper rate to power their water heater . This is commonly referred to as off-peak hot water, although the retailers call it a controlled load or economy tariff.
It is called a controlled load because the electricity company can choose when to supply the electricity to your hot water system. They literally control your load. This electricity is cheaper because they only supply electricity on this tariff when wholesale energy is cheap.
To control your load and charge you a separate rate, they either fit a second meter for your controlled loads or have a single multi-function meter with two outputs and two digital displays one for your regular loads and one for controlled loads.
Smart Meter Or Solar Battery Storage
To get the most out of your solar PV system you have a number of options. When the FiT came to an end in 2019, the incentives to install solar panels took a big hit but this has now been restored with the introduction of the Smart Export Guarantee. Having a smart meter will provide your supplier with accurate readings, helping to maximise the payments you receive through the scheme. A solar battery is the best option if you’re looking to hold onto more of the energy generated by your solar panels but, fortunately, you don’t have to choose between the two. And by having both, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of both. Just remember the SEG terms set out by your energy supplier when having a solar battery installed.
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