Big change to energy smart meters next month could lower gas and electricity bills

MILLIONS of households will be affected by a major energy meter change next month, which could cut their gas and electricity bills.

Smart meters will automatically send updates on energy usage every half an hour from May.

Industry regulator Ofgem is being given new powers next month, which will update the way smart meters work.

It means energy usage will be tracked more closely, so customers will be able to see where they can make reductions.

The move also means suppliers will be able to bill more accurately, meaning customers won't have to make payments based on overestimates.

It comes after the energy price cap was increased last week, adding almost £700 on to the average household bill.

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The change will also allow suppliers to introduce more time of use tariffs.

This means busy times will be more expensive and quieter times will be cheaper – effectively introducing surge pricing.

If customers on time of use tariffs can shift their energy usage to less busy periods, they could save money.

However, it could have the opposite effect for consumers who need to use gas or electricity during the peak time.

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Scottish Power, EDF and Octopus Energy, which has 11million customers between them, support the changes, the Telegraph reported earlier this year.

Most households are currently on tariffs that charge a flat rate, regardless of what time you use energy.

But some consumers with smart meters have already opted in to half-hourly updates and can access time use tariffs.

EDF, Scottish Power and Octopus are among the firms offering those deals.

Households with Economy 7 or Economy 10 meters can also get cheaper off-peak pricing.

You won't have to switch to a time of use tariff following next month's change.

If you don't switch, you could still benefit from those who do.

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That's because spreading demand for energy use could lead to savings across the power network.

As the costs of running the network are shared among everyone, any reduction would be passed on too.

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