Smart Meter Trial FAQs
- How long will the trial last for?
The trial will last for 12 months so that Orbit can see how your energy usage varies throughout the year.
If the trial is successful, you will be invited to join for a further 12 months. We will contact you towards the end of the first 12 months to see whether you would like to continue to take part.
- Can I leave the trial?
Yes - but if you would like to leave the trial, please contact Orbit and fill in this form.
If you don’t want to take part at all please can you let us know why by filling in this short feedback form.
Also, you can leave the trial at any time but still continue with Economy Energy as your energy supplier.
If you wish to change energy suppliers as well, you will not be able to continue in the trial. Please also note that if you choose to leave the trial and Economy Energy as your energy supplier, your new supplier may not be able to support your meter in smart mode (see p3 for more information on ‘smart mode’).
- What are the main benefits of taking part in the trial?
- Have greater control in managing your energy use.
- More choice of how to pay for your energy.
- Make a difference to how Orbit provides financial and energy advice to benefit you and other customers.
- What do these benefits mean for me?
During the trial you will be invited to use different ways to top-up your Smart Pay-As-You-Go energy:
- Top-up on the high street (at a Paypoint outlet)
- Top-up over the phone
- Top-up via smart phone
- Top-up via text message
- Top-up online
During the trial, we will offer you the choice to take part in energy reduction events and competitions, as well as asking you to share your experiences in reducing your home energy usage and bills. You don’t have to receive or take part in any of these initiatives if you don’t want to.
- You can view your credit on your In-Home Display unit and receive alerts when credit is running low.
- You can view costs in pounds and pence for your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly usage.
- You will receive near real time information of your home’s energy (electric and gas) usage, including the cost of that energy.
- You will receive energy advice and support from Orbit and Economy Energy in helping you to reduce your energy bills.
- If you wish, we will offer financial advice from our Advice Services team to help you better manage your energy bills.
Benefits for the planet:
By reducing your energy usage you will also help tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions.
- Why are smart meters being introduced?
Smart meters are the next generation of electricity and gas meters with a range of additional functions that can help consumers understand - in near to real time - how much energy they are using and at what cost.
In the UK, smart meters are part of the Government's plan to bring our energy system up-to-date. By the end of 2020, around 50 million smart meters will be fitted by suppliers in over 26 million households across Wales, Scotland and England.
A smart meter also comes with a monitor, known as an ‘in-home display’ unit, so you can better understand your energy usage.
You can place your ‘In-Home Display’ unit anywhere in your home to show you:
- How much energy you’re using
- The cost in pounds and pence
- How much credit you have left
- Your gas and electricity usage
For further information on smart meters, Smart Energy GB is responsible for the national campaign for the smart meter roll out and there is plenty of information on their website.
- How do smart meters differ from current meters?
Rather than estimated bills, you have an accurate bill for your electricity and gas. Smart meters have two-way communications, which means you know how much electric or gas you are using, at the time you are using it. This also means that suppliers like Economy Energy don’t have to visit your home to take a meter reading because it’s done automatically. This saves customers the bother of reading their own meter.
- Who is Economy Energy?
Economy Energy is an independent UK-based energy supplier headquartered in Coventry, serving 100,000 electricity, gas and dual fuel customers. They offer simple, low-cost energy tariffs and aim to provide excellent customer service.
As our energy supply partner for the Orbit Smart Meter Trial, it was important for us to work with an energy supplier that puts the customer at the heart of everything they do.
For the Orbit Smart Meter trial, they offer:
- Installation of the smart meter and In-Home Display unit at no cost to you or Orbit
- A zero standing charge tariff on electricity* (as part of their “Economy tariff”)
- More ways to pay for your energy:
- (online, via smart phone, via text message, over the phone, on the high-street)
- A dedicated team to support you
- Advice and support on how to use and get the most out of your smart meter and In-Home Display unit
- Online account management to make things easier for you
- I rent my home and cannot change my electricity supplier
Yes, you can. As your landlord Orbit cannot stop you from changing your energy supplier. For information the energy industry regulator, Ofgem, has produced some guidance notes for tenants - Factsheet 122 on Ofgem’s website: Tenants’ Energy Rights Explained
- I have a prepayment meter. Can I take part in the Orbit Smart Meter Trial?
Yes, you can. The trial is designed for customers who already have a prepayment meter to benefit from lower cost tariffs and multiple payment methods.
- I have a credit meter. Can I take part in the Orbit Smart Meter Trial?
Yes, you can, but not for the very first group of customers. The first trail will be limited to customers who already have a prepayment meter.
The second batch of trial participants will be open to credit customers, who need to pay in Smart Pay-As-You-Go mode, which can help with your budgeting.
Customers who prefer to pay via Direct Debit will be invited to join the trial at a later stage.
Should you wish to join the trial in Smart Pay-As-You-Go mode, and you have a credit meter, please notify Orbit using the contact details section below.
- Can I still take part if I’m on either an electricity tariff only or a dual fuel (electricity and gas) tariff?
Yes, you can take part if you are on an electricity tariff only, or if you have an electric and gas tariff. Smart meters are suitable for both electricity and gas.
- Can I still take part if I only wish to switch my gas to Economy Energy as part of the trial?
No. Unfortunately, the communications technology is only installed in the new smart electricity meter. So customers who wish to have a gas smart meter installed will need to have a smart electricity meter as well as their gas meter, to enjoy the benefits that smart meters will provide.
- What happens if I have an Economy 7 meter?
An Economy 7 meter is a two rate electricity meter which has one rate for the day and another one for the night.
Unfortunately, if you currently have an Economy 7 electricity meter, you will not be able to join the first group of participants for the trial.
Customers who have an Economy 7 meter will be able to join the trial at a later stage. Economy Energy will offer these customers the most appropriate tariff for their needs and circumstances.
- How will the meter installation be arranged?
Once you have switched your energy supply to Economy Energy, they will contact you directly to arrange a preferred date to install your new meter. From signing your agreement letter, the entire process should take no longer than eight weeks.
Economy Energy will send you a ‘Smart Meter Installation Guide’ before you get your smart meter installed. The guide has step-by-step instructions on what to do regarding your new top-up card.
A reminder will be sent the day before installation to confirm your appointment. An appointment can be made for the:
- Morning (08:00-12:00)
- Afternoon (13:00-17:00)
You will need to be in the property on the installation date**
The installation engineer will give a demonstration of the smart meter and in-home display unit as well as energy efficiency advice. This information will also be available on our website.
** If the customer is not in the property as agreed for the installation date, a new appointment will be made. This will cause a delay to the installation process.
- How long will it take to install my new smart meter?
The smart meter will be installed by Economy Energy’s Approved Engineers, who will always show you identification when visiting. It will take approximately 60-90 minutes to install the meter.
To speed up the process, customers could make sure that the area surrounding the meter is clear for when the engineer comes to install the meter (free from clutter, coats, shoes etc.).
- Will my electricity supply be turned off and will I have to reset my appliances?
Yes, your supply will be turned off for a short while during the installation (approximately 30 minutes). Some appliances may need to be reset.
You will be given a demonstration of your new smart meter and in-home display unit when the engineer installs the new meter. If you have any questions about the new smart meter, the in-home display unit and its set up, do please ask the engineer.
- Do I have to pay to get the equipment installed?
No, the smart meter and in-home display unit will be provided free of charge to Orbit customers by Economy Energy.
- My meter is outside; do I need to be at home?
Yes, we will need you to be at home, as we will need to test the meter with appliances in your home to ensure it works properly.
- Will any equipment be installed in my home?
Yes. We will visit your property to upgrade your existing meter to a new smart meter to help you manage your energy usage in near real-time. The cost of installing the new smart meter in your home is covered by Economy Energy at no extra cost to you.
Economy Energy will provide an additional in-home display unit which will help you understand the amount of energy you are using and the cost of that energy.
- What will happen with the old meter?
By law, the old meter will be removed when it is replaced by the new smart meter. Economy Energy will return your old equipment to your previous supplier.
- How much will it cost?
Two different tariffs are offered:
- Economy Tariff
- SmartPay Tariff
Please see the FAQs below for details of the different tariffs.
Please note the tariff rates are specific to the region in which you live i.e. Orbit Heart of England, Orbit South and Orbit East. Energy tariffs can vary depending on the particular region that the electricity or gas is consumed at. The tariff rates vary depending on the transmission and distribution costs. This is a standard industry procedure. Economy Energy will tell you which area your property is in.
- What is an Economy Tariff (Prepayment/Pay-As-You-Go customers)
The Economy Tariff is a 12-month fixed price tariff with a zero-standing charge for electricity customers.
- What is the TCR (Tariff Comparison Rate)?
The Tariff Comparison Rate is a single figure that takes into account any standing charges, unit rates and discounts that go into providing a tariff’s overall cost. Customers can take this Tariff Comparison Rate, compare it against another tariff - either from the same supplier or a different supplier - and tell instantly which one is cheaper. This was introduced in Spring 2014 by the electricity industry regulator, Ofgem, to help customers.
- SmartPay Tariff
The SmartPay Tariff prices are indicated below:
Orbit Heart of England: Standing Rate (Power) (p) Day Unit Rate (Power) Standing Rate (Gas) (p) Unit Rate (Gas) 19.00p 12.80p 26.00p 3.60p Orbit South Standing Rate (Power) (p) Day Unit Rate (Power) Standing Rate (Gas) (p) Unit Rate (Gas) 19.00p 13.10p 26.00p 3.70p Orbit East Standing Rate (Power) (p) Day Unit Rate (Power) Standing Rate (Gas) (p) Unit Rate (Gas) 19.00p 12.80p 26.00p 3.62p
- How does Economy Energy send the bill? It is online or by post? Does it include the breakdown cost?
Pay-As-You-Go customers do not need a bill as you pay for your energy in advance of receiving it.
Economy Energy will send Pay-As-You-Go customers an annual statement in the post. The statement will be based on actual usage, not estimates. It includes details of the tariff you were on, how much energy you used, overall cost and how much you are expected to use the following year.
Over the course of the trial, you can review your account details via the ‘My Account’ feature of the website. You will be sent more information about this feature when it is launched.
- How am I helping save the environment?
Helping our customers reduce their energy usage will help reduce greenhouse gases and tackle climate change.
- Can I monitor my carbon footprint?
Yes. Your in-home display unit calculates your Carbon Dioxide emissions as it monitors your energy usage. You can monitor your own CO2 and carbon footprint, and actively lower your own emissions by participating in greater energy efficiency measures. Orbit wants to make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. The smart meter and in-home display unit give you the opportunity to understand exactly how much impact your own usage has on the planet.
- How will you keep my data secure?
Both Orbit and Economy Energy takes its customers’ data security extremely seriously and is compliant with UK Data Protection Law and European Data Protection Regulations. We are committed to keeping your information secure and keep our systems under constant review.
- Who do I contact if I have an enquiry?
Please call Economy Energy if you have any enquiries relating to your energy supply or this trial.
- Phone: 02477 767 296 and select Option 2 (Credit/Direct Debit)
- Email: email@example.com
Please contact Orbit if you have any enquiries relating to your invitation/eligibility to participate or this trial, go to our Contact Us page for more information on how to get in touch.
- What if I have a complaint about the trial?
We always do our best to provide a great service, but sometimes things don’t go to plan. As part of the Orbit Smart Meter Trial, we welcome feedback from customers taking part so we can make the process as seamless as possible and offer smart meters to more customers.
Our complaints process is designed to make things easier for you and to help resolve problems quickly.
- Complaints about your energy bill or tariffs should be referred to Economy Energy. More information is available at: https://www.economyenergy.co.uk/customers/make-a-complaint
- Complaints about energy advice or support provided by Orbit should be referred to Orbit. More information is available at: http://www.orbit.org.uk/contact-us/complaints-and-feedback/