Preparing for your smart meter installation
The safety of members and engineers is priority. Following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), engineers will practise social distancing throughout your installation, and will be using personal protective equipment (PPE) including:
The engineer will call before your appointment
The engineer will call you to let you know they’re on their way. They’ll ask you to confirm there’s no one in your home who falls into a coronavirus at-risk group, or is showing symptoms of coronavirus. If there is, we’ll need to cancel the appointment for now.
When the engineer needs to enter your home, make sure the doors inside your home are open. This will help reduce the surfaces the engineer needs to touch. After inspecting the safety of your property, the engineer will exchange your meters.
Keep your distance
While the engineer exchanges your meters, stay in a separate room where possible. The engineer will let you know when they need you.
The engineer will turn off your energy supply for a short while
Smart meters directly replace your existing meters for gas and electricity. As part of the installation, the engineer will need to turn off your gas and electricity for around 20 minutes each.
Troubleshooting a Faulty Light Switch
Do you have a light switch in your home that isn’t working properly? If you have a screwdriver, voltage tester, insulated pliers and a wire connector you can troubleshoot your light switch to determine the problem and, if necessary, replace the switch.
A light switch is inexpensive and has small parts entirely contained inside a plastic casing, so if the switch is bad the best option is to replace it. But before you replace it you need to determine whether it is the light switch that is faulty or if the wiring is the problem.
Diagnosing Light Switch Problems
If the light switch isn’t working at all, there may be no power to the circuit. Make sure the breaker to the switch is on in your breaker box and determine whether there are any other tripped outlets and switch them on as well. This is the simplest solution you’ll want to try first that may fix the issue.
If the light had been flickering, however, you’ll probably need to go a bit further. The problem may be a loose connection or a tripped wall outlet on the same circuit. The first thing you’ll need to do is turn off power to the light switch before handling it.
When you’re sure the breaker is off, remove the cover plate and unscrew the switch. With your insulated pliers, pull the switch out of the electrical box making sure to keep your hands and tools well clear of the terminals.
Importance of Electrical Sockets and Switches and When to Replace Them
Since the discovery of electricity, our lives have improved drastically. The availability of electrical power has triggered lots of technological inventions and job creation. Electricity is one of the inventions that have taken our lifestyles to a whole new level. Now whenever we talk about electrical power, the most basic use of electrical power is in our homes either to cook or to light up our houses.
Also, electrical power is used in our homes to power AC systems and other appliances like TVs, refrigerators, microwaves etc. Now, to efficiently and safely make use of electrical power, there is a need to have electrical sockets and switches. Imagine having electrical power but no switches? It will be a disaster to power your home and other appliances.
With sockets and electrical switches, we can efficiently make good use of electrical power. With a quality socket, you can plug any electrical appliance and enjoy the convenience. Also with electrical switches, one can switch on the lights, outlets etc. Switches and sockets are indispensable in any electrical system. Since they are essential parts of a wiring system at home or the office, switches and outlets are prone to damage.
A faulty switch or socket can be as a result of overuse or electrical faults – for example, electrical surges. Now when you have a defective socket or switch, you are faced with a significant problem as you can no longer enjoy electrical power. When this happens, the best thing is to call an electrician and have your faulty switch or socket replaced.
There are those times that you feel that your home or office is becoming outdated. In such cases, you might consider a renovation project. During a renovation project, your electrical system will be interfered with as there might be some demolitions taking place. Now, this is the right time to replace your switches and sockets that looks dirty and outdated.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Should I switch off power at the wall? Here’s what you need to know for your next electricity bill
Some people can’t stop themselves from reaching for an empty socket and switching it off if it has been left on. Others can have multiple appliances on standby and not give it another thought. But who is right? Or more precisely, is one group just wasting their time or is the other wasting money?
Does it really matter if I switch off power at the wall?
Yes it can. In a comparison of appliances in 2016, consumer group Choice found that if you had a lot of appliances that were inefficient, you could be paying more than $100 per year for unnecessary power.
According to the Department of the Environment and Energy, appliances that aren’t switched off (so they’re in standby power mode) can account for about 3 per cent of your energy bill. Overall, Choice’s research found the difference between the most efficient and least efficient devices on standby was marginal in most areas.
But when looking at different multi-function printers for example, the highest standby cost was a whopping $118.24. It also found washing machines (highest standby cost at $7.60 annually), wireless VOIP routers (highest standby cost at $25.40 annually) and speaker docks (highest standby cost at $19.00 annually) could also have significant standby costs.
“If you’ve got 50 appliances around the house it’s going to start adding up and we are tending to have more and more appliances around the house these days — phones sitting on chargers, cordless vacuum cleaners sitting there quietly charging away,”