Smart water meter FAQS

All you ever need to know about smart water meters.

What’s a smart water meter?

Smart water meters measure how much water you use. They send us readings automatically using a secure network.

 

You’ll be able to see this information, giving you a clearer view of your water usage so you can make responsible choices for yourself, your household, and your local community.

When are you fitting smart meters in my area?

We’re working our way through homes in Essex and Suffolk. We’ll be in touch when smart meters are coming to your area.

Are smart water meters free?

In most circumstances the meter will be free unless you decide you want it to be located in a different place to where we recommend in which case we may ask you to contribute to the cost of installation.

What are the advantages of smart water meters?

  • You’ll be able to track your water usage on our app with hourly, daily, weekly and monthly views.
  • By saving water, you could reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills.
  • You’ll get an alert on our app if your water usage shows a potential leak in your home.
  • If you’re currently on metered bills, you’ll be charged on actual reads – no more estimated bills when we’ve been unable to read your meter.
  • If you currently have an internal meter, we won’t need to visit your home to take a reading.
Are smart meters safe?

Yes. Public Health England has confirmed that smart meters do not pose a risk to health. You can read more information about smart meters in this Public Health England report.

Why do I need a smart meter?

Smart meters are vital to help us protect our water supply for future generations. They help us understand water usage across all the communities we serve, so that we can find leaks and conserve water. All water companies in the UK will be rolling out smart meters in the next 15 years.

Do I have to have a meter and does it have to be a smart?

Yes, because water companies can install meters in areas that are classified as seriously water stressed by the Environment Agency (Water stressed areas - final classification (publishing.service.gov.uk)

 

Water Industry Act 1991 (legislation.gov.uk) also allows water companies to install meters in households in areas with serious water stress determined by the Secretary of State (Water Industry Act 1991 (legislation.gov.uk).

 

This means a customer can't refuse a meter or object to the type of meter, such as our smart meters. 

When will I be able to get my smart meter?

We aim to give all of our customers a smart meter by 2035.  We'll be in touch when we're ready to install your smart meter

 

You can still click here to apply for a standard meter in the meantime.

 

Can you turn my water off remotely?

Unlike energy meters, our water meters are installed on a manual stop tap and these can’t be accessed remotely. Water companies, by UK law cannot disconnect your water supply.  

 

Our Smart Water Meters are sending us leak and flow information remotely over a secure network and has no remote access from Essex & Suffolk water and the meter.   The meter has no control over the actual flow or the stop tap.

Do smart meters give off dangerous radio waves?

Without a way to communicate, smart meters wouldn't be smart. They use radio waves to get information on water usage. 
 
Other things use radio waves too, like the mobile phone or a computer you're probably reading this right now on, plus radios and TVs. These devices don’t communicate all the time, only when needed. 
 
Meters comply with UK law and EU standards (Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive) and radio waves are covered in these.
 
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well below the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). 
 
Their study also found smart meters produce fewer radio waves than other everyday devices like mobile phones and Wi-Fi. UKHSA doesn't think exposure to radio waves is a reason not to have a smart meter.
 
We're comfortable with the safety of smart water meters because there's enough evidence that they're safe. Over two million smart water meters are already installed across the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

What happens when it's time to get my smart water meter?
Do I need to pay to get a smart meter fitted?

No you don’t have to pay, unless you’d like it in a different place to our recommendation.

Will my bills go up if I get a smart meter?

I already have a water meter

 

No, unless your water usage increases.

 

I don’t have a meter

 

If you choose to stay on unmetered bills, you’ll continue to get billed in the same way. Nothing about how we bill you will change.

 

If you choose to move to metered bills, you’ll be charged for the water you use. We have a lowest bill guarantee in place.

 

If you’re interested in a standard meter now, you can apply for one online.

 

What happens when you fit my smart meter?

I already have a water meter outside

 

When your meter is due to be replaced, we’ll let you know that we’re coming to upgrade it. As your meter is outside you don’t need to be at home. While our engineer is at your home, they’ll:

  • let you know they’ve arrived and show their official ID if you’re at home.
  • turn your water off for a few minutes
  • fit your new smart meter.
  • check everything is working and turn your water back on.
  • give you information about your new meter. If you’re not at home, we’ll pop a card through your letterbox telling you all about your new smart meter.

 

I already have a water meter in my home

 

When your meter is due to be replaced, we’ll be in touch to arrange an appointment. You’ll need to be at home, to let our engineer in - it usually takes less than an hour to upgrade your meter. While our engineer is at your property, they’ll:

  • show you their official ID
  • turn your water off
  • fit your new smart meter
  • check everything is working and turn your water back on, and
  • give you information about your new meter and how it works.

 

I don’t have a meter

 

We’ll let you know when we’re coming to fit the meter. There’s no need to be at home though, so don’t worry if we miss you! While our engineer is at your property, they’ll:

  • let you know they’ve arrived and show their official ID.
  • identify the location to fit the meter, which is normally in a small, lidded box outside your home. It's the one with your external stop tap, and usually found in the public footpath, or in your front garden or drive.
  • turn your water off.
  • fit your smart meter.
  • check everything is working and turn your water back on.
  • give you information about your new meter (or pop a card through your door with this information if you’re out).

 

There may be a small number of occasions where we’re unable to fit the meter as planned. If this is the case, we’ll leave a card explaining the next steps and options available for you.

What happens after my smart meter has been fitted?

Your smart meter will be linked to your home and within 30 days you’ll be able to track your water usage on our app. You’ll have access to all the benefits of smart metering which include:

  • a clearer view of the water usage in your home with hourly, daily, weekly and monthly views on our app and
  • improved awareness of your water usage that could help you save water, reducing your carbon footprint and your energy bill

 

With an improved view of your water usage, you can find great tips on how to save water and potentially lower your bills. We all use water in different ways. Knowing how much you’re using helps you make responsible choices for yourself, your household, and your community.

 

 

 

How we collect your data and keep it safe
How often do you read my smart meter?

Hourly reads are taken and sent to us daily. We’ll update your account at least once a day, so you can see today’s readings when you log into our app tomorrow. Or yesterday’s readings if you log in today.

Why are you collecting hourly reads?

• Hourly reads will give you a clear view of the water usage in your home which allows you to better understand how you can save water.
• We’ll be able to find leaks in your home or our wider water network quickly.
• We have a duty of care to make sure we all use water wisely. As our population is rising, and water demand is increasing, we need to keep close watch on how much water is being used.
• Hourly reads help us build a better picture of how our communities use water to ensure we keep the taps flowing.

Is my data secure?

Yes. Personal information such as your name, address and bank details is not stored on your smart meter. The meter simply records your water usage. The data is transmitted to us using a dedicated and secure wireless network.

 

  • No data is put on the public internet.
  • Smart meter data is stored securely in our systems and our partners (the network provider).
  • All customer data is stored in European tenancies that comply with ISO 27001 and GDPR.
  • Modern encryption methods protect smart meter data in transit between us and our partners (the network provider).
  • By using modern encryption standards or a private network, smart meter data is protected.
  • Smart meter data can't be used to identify the customer.

 

You can read more about how we use your personal data in our privacy policy

Do smart meters need a Wi-Fi connection?

No. Smart meters don’t need or use Wi-Fi. We use a private and secure network.

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