If there is one thing that 99.9% of people can agree on, it’s that they don’t understand their gas and electricity bills.

One big area of confusion is estimated bills. Why does your bill say it’s an estimate, when you could have sworn that no more than a week ago, a man wearing an incandescent waistcoat, holding an overgrown mobile phone looking device came and stuck his head under your stairs to take a reading?

Well don’t fear, as I am pleased to tell you that the end of estimate bills is nigh, because over the next decade (yes, I did say decade) the roll out of smart meters is going to take place.

But what is a smart meter and what does it do? On the blog, over the next few weeks I will hopefully help give you a flavour of what exactly is being planned and what the impact could be for you and your energy bills.

To begin this series of blog entries, I will begin by answering a question which comes up quite often from our customers – “Can I have a smart meter?” In a word – no. There are a number of trials going on across the UK involving all of the Big Six energy companies (British Gas, Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower, E.on Energy, npower & EDF Energy), some of which are being funded by the government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change, but these schemes are by invitation only.

However, there is one smaller energy company, by the name of First Utility, which is able to give you a smart meter if you live in a specific area. The UK is split in to 14 energy regions ranging from the Scottish Hydro in the far north to South Western Electricity Board (SWEB) in the far south west.  “So what?” I hear you ask, well in two of the 14 regions (Midlands and East Midlands) if you sign up to First Utility they will come and fit smart meters for both gas and electricity in your home. But if you live in one of the other 12 energy regions, I am afraid that you will have to wait your turn. After all, what is 10 years between friends, well, an energy supplier and its customer?

Next time I will do my best to give some more insight into what a smart meter is and why you might want one. So until next time . . .

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