Your questions answered
Will the householder bear any cost?
The installation will be at no additional cost for the householder and will be completed by Manx Utilities. Under current arrangements, consumers pay for the cost of the meter and its maintenance through their energy bills, and this will be the same for smart meters. If you currently own a purpose-built meter box and it is unsuitable or not the right size for the new meter, you might have to arrange for a new box to be installed at your expense to accommodate your smart meter.
What is the overall cost of the programme and why is this new expense necessary
A programme budget of £18.15m was agreed by Council of Ministers; it includes all operational costs for the next ten years. This budget should be viewed in the context of the cost of Manx Utilities’ normal meter replacement programme: for instance, in the last ten years we have purchased and installed over 40,000 meters at a cost of more than £5m. The budget includes the provision and deployment of a new smart prepayment system, replacing the current unsupported and progressively unreliable system, which costs around £200k per year to maintain. It also provides for the design and installation of a new communications system.
The ‘do nothing’ option just to maintain statutory compliance will cost approximately £16M over the same time period.
Is there data on energy consumption reduction available from countries at more advanced stages of smart meter deployment?
There is a large evidence base demonstrating that smart metering, combined with effective customer engagement, does lead to demand reduction. Based on trials, both the UK and Ireland have independently suggested a 2.8% reduction in energy consumption following their smart meter roll-outs.
Are there any plans for smart grid and smart island?
Smart metering is synonymous with the concept of the smart grid. We are updating our grid to more intelligently manage our energy, provide alternative energy sources, and support electric vehicle charging. The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) we are putting in place is, if desired, able to accommodate future smart solutions like street lighting, smart homes, and traffic and parking optimisation.
Do I need a broadband connection in my home to have a smart meter?
No. Smart meters use an entirely separate, bespoke wireless system. You don't need Wi-Fi in your home for it to work and it will not use your Wi-Fi if you have it. Your smart meter and the data management centre communicate via a secure national network which is solely for smart meters. This works in the same way as other wireless systems like car remote keys or TVs, using radio waves.
Who will be doing the work?
Manx Utilities' dedicated team of highly-skilled and fully trained meter installers will complete the work. They all carry a Manx Utilities' id badge, please request to see it if required.
Do you need access to my home?
We will require access to your home if your meter is inside your property, and we will need to speak to you if you are using our prepayment system. For meters located outside, we will not normally need the householder to be present. We will, of course, contact customers well in advance of any planned visit.
Post installation, if you experience any technical or functional issues with your new meter or other Manx Utilities’ equipment, please contact us on 687973 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org during office hours. We will resolve technical problems, and will provide post-installation support.
Outside of our normal office hours, please call 687687.
To whom does the meter belong; what happens if I move house?
The meter belongs to Manx Utilities. As with conventional meters, it remains at the property. All consumption data will continue to be associated with the premises throughout the retention period; however, the new occupant will not have access to it.
Will prepayment still exist as an option and will it remain unchanged?
The prepayment service remains as an option, and will be more convenient and easy than ever. We are looking to develop new solutions allowing remote payment or payment online, as well as low credit alerts and instantaneous changes between prepayment and credit service; any enhancements to the the service will be communicated to you promptly.
What will happen to the old-style meters when decommissioned?
As these conventional meters are at their end of life, they will be shipped to the UK where all components will be reused, recycled or disposed of accordingly.
What will be the billing and payment arrangements?
In a bid to improve our processes, provide a more efficient service and do our bit for the environment, we are looking to introduce more frequent and paperless billing (e-billing), as well as encourage customers to take up our prepayment service or set up a direct debit. To receive a discount, why not sign up for Electricity Direct Debit now.
If I go off-grid, would I need a smart meter?
If you are completely off-grid and not connected to our service, you do not need a smart meter. If you are self-reliant, but connected for emergencies, we will still need to replace your current meter.
Can I still 'sell back' to you?
Nothing changes. If you are generating your own electricity, and are selling back to us, you will still be able to feed into the grid. Smart metering will help us match supply and demand for you and other customers and allow more renewable generation to be connected.
Any plans for smart gas/water meters? Will you be introducing water meters for households?
Smart meters are currently being rolled out only for electricity and, at present, there are no plans for water meters. However, this technology could support other utility metering if there is a requirement for it.