Can I switch energy suppliers if I’ve got a smart meter?
If you’ve got a smart meter and you're thinking of changing suppliers, will it still work? Follow our guide to smart meter compatibility.
If you’re wondering ‘Can I still switch suppliers if I have a smart meter?’, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes, you can!’
Whether you have a smart electricity or gas meter (or both), you’re free to transfer to a new energy company, and your existing smart meter may still be compatible – with some caveats. More on that below.
The process for switching suppliers with a smart meter will usually be the same as if you have a traditional meter. During the transfer process, your new supplier will see that you’ve got a smart meter. They should then be able to tell you whether it will work in the same way as it does now.
Looking for a new supplier
As always, when you’re shopping around for a new supplier, there are a few golden rules to follow.
- First, decide on your priority. Are you after the cheapest, the best or the greenest supplier?
- Next, do your research. Seek out the supplier that best delivers on what you want.
- Then simply reach out and let them know you’d like to switch. They should be able to take care of the rest.
Read our guide on How to compare energy suppliers
How smart meters work with different suppliers
There are several different types of smart meters out there – so your new energy company may or may not use the same technology or network as your current one. Your best approach is to check with your new supplier.
Energy suppliers began installing smart meters over the last few years, with the goal of upgrading all UK households by 2024. At the time of writing, not every supplier is offering smart meters – so if having one is a must, do some detective work to find a supplier who uses them.
In general, if your new supplier uses the same make of smart meter as your current one, your meter/s may continue working in the same way.
Here at OVO, we use the next-generation type of smart meter called a ‘Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications 2’ meter, or a ‘SMETS2’. If you’re switching away from OVO (sad face), your smart meter will work with any supplier who also uses a SMETS2.
Read more about how to get a smart meter
Ensuring your smart meter will stay ‘smart’
With some suppliers, your smart meter might simply lose its ‘smartness’ and stop sending readings automatically. If so, you’ll probably need to start giving monthly or half-yearly meter readings to your new supplier.
But if both your new and old supplier use the same type of smart meter, you should be able to carry on using your current equipment and enjoy more or less the same features.
Things to discuss before switching
When you’re looking at potential new suppliers, there are a few key questions to ask and things to consider before deciding if they’re the right choice:
- If you have a traditional meter, ask if the new supplier can install a smart SMETS2 type instead.
- If you have an older SMETS1 meter, ask the new supplier if it will be compatible.
- If you already have a SMETS2 meter, they should be able to get your meter readings.
- If you have a smart meter, ask what services your new supplier offers. Will you be able to see your usage online, and see how much energy you're using compared to similar households? For instance, OVO’s clever usage graphs help you to easily compare your usage across each day (if you share half-hourly readings) and compare your usage to other days, weeks, months and (if applicable) previous years.
- Remember that if you move out of a home with a smart meter, you’ll need to leave your In-Home Display (IHD) behind, as it's set up to only work with that smart meter.
- If you move into a home with a working smart meter, but no IHD, ask your new supplier about getting a new one.
Switching to OVO
If you’re a current customer of one of the above suppliers and you decide to switch to OVO, you can find out more about how to do that here.
As we’ve outlined, if your current meter is a next-generation (SMETS2) type of smart meter, the good news is that there should be no issue switching to OVO. Because who doesn’t love a hassle-free hop?!
Switching and In-Home Displays (IHD)
If you have an IHD and your new supplier uses the same type of system to communicate with your meter as your previous energy company, the IHD should be able to display your energy use.
There’ll be a bit of (remote) tweaking needed though, as it will still be programmed with your old supplier’s rates and tariff. Happily, that’s nothing for you to worry about, as it should happen automatically. Your new supplier will also reprogramme your meter so the IHD can show how much your energy is actually costing you.
If after signing up with your new supplier, your unit rates and standing charges haven't updated, a phone call will ensure they’re getting the right data.
Unresolved switching issues
If your supplier can’t help with your switching issue in the first instance, Citizens Advice is your next port of call. You can reach them through Citizens Advice website or call them on 03454 04 05 06.
Ready to switch to OVO?
We’ll make it as simple as possible to switch to us and keep your smart meter functionality, wherever possible! Take a look at our range of energy plans, then go to our Get a quote page and enter your postcode. We’ll come back with a quote based on the average energy use of households in your area.
Find out more about smart meters
Find out more about switching energy suppliers
If you need more help
More help is on hand for this topic on the OVO Forum. And if you don't find the answers you need, feel free to ask a question and one of our forum users can help.