Can I Switch Energy Suppliers if I’ve got a Smart Meter?

woman uses a kettle next to a smart meter

By 7 min read


You can easily switch energy suppliers with a smart meter

You can get a smart meter for free

The Energy Switch Guarantee compels providers to organise your switch for you


Before we do anything else, let’s answer the main question: yes, you absolutely can switch energy suppliers if you have a smart meter.

It would be terrible if the reward for bringing your meter into the modern age was to be eternally shackled to one company – but instead, you’re free as a bird.

There’s more to it than just that though, of course – and we’ve answered all your questions below, to make sure your move to a new supplier is as seamless as possible.

If you’re already convinced – which would be fair enough – just fill in this quick form, and see if you can save money by switching energy suppliers.

woman uses a kettle next to a smart meter

Can I switch energy suppliers with a smart meter?

Yes, you can definitely switch energy suppliers if you have a smart meter.

If you have a second generation machine – also known as a SMETS2 – you’ll be able to switch providers without interrupting your readings, energy supply, or payments.

Everything should switch over to your new supplier as soon as you transfer, which you can do more easily now, thanks to the launch of the Energy Switch Guarantee way back in 2016.

You can also switch suppliers if you have a first generation smart meter, but there’s a chance your meter could temporarily stop sending reports to your new supplier.

This would mean you’d have to send manual readings to your provider for a while, but it won’t last forever, and doesn’t affect your energy supply.

Your in-home display will keep telling you how much energy you’re using throughout this teething period – it just won’t tell your new supplier for a little bit.

If you’ve had your smart meter installed since 2018, you likely have a SMETS2 model. Skip to the relevant section below if you’re not sure which you have.

Can smart meters be used through different suppliers?

Yes, you can use the same smart meter with different suppliers.

As mentioned above, SMETS1 machines may initially find it difficult to communicate with your new supplier, but they can still be used with the provider during this time.

Smart meters are designed to be used with different suppliers, and the Energy Switch Guarantee obliges your new provider to fix any problems associated with the switch.

What happens to my smart meter when I change energy providers?

If it’s a second generation meter, nothing. It’ll keep displaying your energy usage and sending that data to your new provider, same as it ever was.

A first generation smart meter will likely act in exactly the same way, but there is a chance it’ll stop sending energy data to your new provider for a while.

If this happens, your new supplier will let you know, and you may have to send manual readings for a period of time. This won’t last forever, and it only happens to some meters.

And at some point in the near future when first generation meters are remotely upgraded, this kink in the process will be a thing of the past.

How to switch energy supplier with a smart meter

Is it easy?

Yes, thankfully it’s just as simple to switch suppliers with a smart meter as it is with a non-smart meter.

The Energy Switch Guarantee means you should be able to sit back and let your old and new energy companies sort out the switch for you. They’ll use the same wires and pipes, and won’t even need to enter your home.

All you’ll need to do is:

  • Choose your new supplier and tariff, which you can do by using an energy bill comparison tool, or by filling this quick form.
  • Have a recent energy bill at hand, to tell your new supplier who your current supplier is, and which tariff you’ve been using.
  • Provide direct debit details and previous meter readings to your new provider.
  • Chase up your old provider if the company hasn’t sent you any money you’re owed within 14 days of sending you your final bill.
  • Wait no more than 21 days for the switch to go through.
  • Let your new supplier tell you if there are any issues with your smart meter sending readings.

Talk to your provider

Before you leave them, make sure you remember to ask your energy provider whether you have a first or second generation smart meter.

It’s the easiest way to find out, and will let you know if there’s any chance you’ll face issues with switching providers.

Is this true of all types of smart meter?

It absolutely is.

First generation models may encounter a choppy period after the switch in terms of sending data to your new supplier, but they’ll still show you how much energy you’re using.

With a second generation smart meter, you should enjoy a seamless transition.

These are the only types of smart meter, so we can confidently say that you can easily switch with all types of smart meter.

How do I know if my smart meter is SMETS1 or SMETS2?

There are a few different ways of figuring out whether your smart meter is SMETS1 – first generation – or SMETS2, also known as second generation. The best way, though, is always to ask your energy supplier.

If your meter was installed before 2018, when the SMETS2 rollout began, you can safely assume it’s a SMETS1 model.

It’s less clear if you’ve had a smart meter installed since 2018, as companies were still trying to get rid of their SMETS1 models.

But don’t despair. if your meter was installed since 2018, and if you’re unable to get through to your provider, you can look for a few clues that’ll point you in the right direction.

a SMETS2 smart meter

This is my smart meter – you can even see me in the reflection – and if you look even closer, you can see a few signs that point to it being a second generation model, all circled in blue.

The bulky WNC box with five LED lights is a big clue, even if all the lights are off in this photo.

If you have a Telefonica, Arqiva, Toshiba, or WNC device with two to five LED lights sitting on your meter, you have an SMETS2 model.

See where it reads “SKU1 Cellular” near the top of the WNC box? That’s another clue. If you see “SKU1” or “SKU2” there, it’s a second generation machine – though this usually only applies to central and south England.

If you’re thinking of getting a free smart meter, your chances of receiving a SMETS2 machine are extremely good. 

90% of all smart meter installations are SMETS2, according to a March 2020 report from the Data Communication Company, which manages the UK’s smart meter infrastructure.

And there’s more good news: at some point in the future, first generation smart meters will be upgraded remotely to bring them into line with what customers can expect from a second generation model.

Summary

Switching energy suppliers has historically been a stressful process, so it makes sense to wonder whether having a smart meter could make it even worse.

But by now, you’ll know that it’s nothing of the sort. Thanks to the Energy Switch Guarantee and the adaptability of smart meters (especially SMETS2), your switch should be quick and painless.

This means that before you know it, your smart meter will be letting you know all about your lower energy costs.

If you want to see if you could get a better deal on your energy bills, just fill in this quick form, and see if you can save money by switching suppliers.

Josh Jackman Writer

Josh is The Eco Experts’ main man for home security, smart devices, and boilers. If it can make your life better and help the environment, he’s on it.