Smart Meters - Big Brother in a Good Way
The drive to install smart meter technology across the UK was big news a couple of years ago, with its connections to the Internet of Things, intelligent fridges, and even fears that your energy suppliers might want to sell data on when you do your cooking or washing to advertising agencies.
None of the scare stories has turned out to be true - so far - although to be fair the IoT itself has stalled for several reasons, but the UK now has 3.5 million smart meters deployed, with a target of 50 million by the end of 2020.
So what is the reality of smart metering? Well, essentially smart meters provide visibility of energy usage to the supplier and to the customer. From the supplier perspective, this helps them to predict demand, and also to issue accurate bills: no more inaccurate estimates, no more meter readers tapping on your door or leaving a card through the letterbox. For the customer, there is an almost real-time display of energy usage and costs, so you can see what you are using when, and decide how to budget for energy bills, or how to manage your consumption. Using less energy has environmental benefits too, so we should start to see less waste and less pollution as a result of smart meters.
Visibility is no use unless you have the power to act, of course, and that's where Big Brother comes in. Actually, big brother with a small B. Or big sister. Because smart meters can help you keep on top of your energy bills, remind you to pay, and make it easier to budget for your energy needs. Like an older sibling, they can simplify the task of managing bills in shared or rented accommodation, educate you when you first have a home of your own, and remind you to top up pre-pay meters. Compared with current direct debit payments, smart meters avoid the situation where utility companies act as a bank in the warmer and lighter months of the year, building up an account surplus to burn over the winter: with smart metering you still have the option of budgeting in advance, but there's no need to pay for the energy before you need it.
Of course, there also needs to be an easy way to manage your payments, and today's energy companies provide several simple and secure payment methods. Over the web, over the phone, or even through a smart app, payment can be made quickly and securely from the comfort of your energy-managed home. Your payment data is kept secure by modern encryption methods, and the payment can be automatically uploaded to your smart meter: no need go out in the rain to enter a code or plug in a card, or wait for days while a payment is processed. Just pick up your smart phone and watch the payment take effect, then you and your big brother (or sister) can relax.
Let Eckoh Help You Be Smart
Eckoh can provide tailored, multi-channel payment solutions that combine smart meters and innovative services in one. We enhance the customer experience by making it safe and convenient for consumers to pay for gas and electricity.
See it in Action
Find out how major green energy pioneer put its purchasing power into the hands of customers. Click here to read the case study.
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