According to research, almost a third of us find ourselves checking our smart meter in-screen display every day as we keep a watchful eye on soaring energy costs. As we head into another uncertain winter, Mark Smith shares her personal experience of using a smart meter and offers tips for home and business owners feeling anxious around the colder months ahead.

Smart meter anxiety takes hold

There are now 30 million homes and businesses using a new smart meter as part of the government’s non compulsory move to upgrade up to 80% of meters in the UK by 2025.

It was initially really exciting to have the in-house display showing what electricity we were using and also the cost attributed to that. I found myself looking at it as the house whirred into action first thing in the morning, then when I came home from work and before the lights went off in the evening. For me, I needed to understand what energy I was using but soon it spiralled into something else.

I found myself walking around the house turning every light off that didn’t need to be on, constantly shutting the doors to keep the heat in and turning the heating down as low as we could stand whilst reestablishing that hot water bottles are a fantastic source of heat. I found myself repeatedly watching the numbers increasing on the display each minute. I realise now that my change of mood was down to smart meter anxiety.

Time to get smart with my smart meter anxiety

As a result, I decided to take control of what I could control. I looked at my energy supplier to see if I was on the cheapest tariff and minimised the time I was in the shower, making sure the oven was utilised effectively as well as looking at other ways of reducing energy usage. One of the biggest surprises to me was the amount of energy that was going to vampire devices – the electrical appliances that drain power when left on standby such as microwave (£1.80 per day)* and a TV (£1.01 per day)

I audited the house and made sure that all of these devices are switched off at the walls and innocently seeming chargers were removed from plug sockets. The difference was evident straight away.

In the end, I was able to reduce my energy consumption but It wasn’t an easy journey. I had to re-educate myself and create new, better habits that helped me to save whilst being better for the environment.

As we head towards the darker evenings, I can feel my eyes flicking to the corner of the room where the affectionately called ‘money munching box’ lives. Thankfully though, this year I have a better understanding of how I consume energy and where those adjustments can be made.

There are ways that we can all save it’s just a case of finding which ways work for your home and your business. Whether it’s having lights on a timer or upgrading to LED lighting, it’s finding what works for you.

For more energy saving tips, visit our smart meter blog.

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