The Truth About Smart Meters – Debunking Common Myths

The Truth About Smart Meters – Debunking Common Myths

The UK Government wants energy suppliers to install smart meters in all businesses and homes by the end of June 2025. This is part of its effort to reduce the amount of energy used in the country and to help Britain reach net zero by 2050.

With the rise in the number of smart meters being installed, there has also been an increase in the number of myths about them.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to a smart meter, you’re in the right place!

So, let’s separate fact from fiction as we debunk some common myths about smart meters in this blog post.

Myth: I’ll need to pay to have a smart meter installed

The installation of smart meters is free.

You won’t have to pay a penny for an engineer to visit your business to replace your old meter with a smart meter, and the process is straightforward. Installation takes less than an hour, so you’ll be up and running in no time, though you should note your power may be off for around 20-30 minutes during the installation process.

Myth: My personal data is not secure

Your data is secure. Smart meters have a security system developed by leading experts in the industry and the government, including GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre.

Smart meters only measure your electricity or gas use, and the data smart meters capture is protected by law. Smart meters do not record, collect or store any personal data, such as your name, address and bank account details.

We protect any customer data we collect and only use it for limited purposes.

Myth: Smart meters don’t save money

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, it is estimated that smart meters will take £300 million off consumers’ bills in 2020, rising to more than £1.2 billion per year by 2030.

Smart meters mean you won’t have to worry about estimated bills.

By knowing how much energy is being used each month, you can make informed decisions about how to and your overall carbon emissions.

Myth: Smart meters can damage your health

Smart meters are safe.

The UK has strict product safety laws, and the energy industry has committed to ensuring smart meters meet the highest health and safety standards during the smart meter rollout. This means, regardless of your energy supplier, there are systems in place to make sure any issues with smart meters are identified and dealt with swiftly.

Myth:  Smart meters need the internet to work

No, smart meters do not rely on the internet for them to work.

Smart meters send readings to your energy supplier via a secure, dedicated network. This network is separate from your Wi-Fi. The information sent to your supplier is encrypted, in the same way that your mobile phone sends and receives information.

Myth: I still need to submit meter readings  

With a smart meter you no longer need to submit meter readings. Smart meters send automatic meter readings to us monthly via a secure data network.

This removes the hassle of a manual meter reading process and ensures you receive bills that reflect your usage first time, allowing you to spend more time on your business.

(There can sometimes be a short delay before we get automated readings and we might occasionally ask for meter readings to check that your meter is working correctly or so we can arrange for an engineer to conduct maintenance work.)

Myth: Smart meters are not good for the environment  

A smart meter can help businesses track how much energy they’re consuming and learn how to conserve the amount of energy they use. The more efficiently businesses use their energy, the more it benefits the environment.

According to Smart Energy GB, if everyone has a smart meter, we could reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the savings made by around 70 million trees. That’s a lot of trees!

Businesses can use their smart meters to reduce electricity usage during peak periods when electricity is most expensive; doing so will help reduce our reliance on additional power stations and ultimately help the UK achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Myth: I rent a property, so I won’t be able to get a smart meter

If you’re the energy account holder and you pay the energy bills, not your landlord, then you can get a smart meter.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, has said that if your tenancy agreement says you need your landlord’s permission to alter the electricity meter at your property, they should not stop you without a good reason.

Just to make sure, we recommend you check this with your landlord. Your tenancy agreement may have details about how electricity and gas are supplied to the property.

Should I get a smart meter?

We’ve busted some of the most common myths about smart meters.  Switching to a smart meter can help you save time, money, and carbon emissions. If you don’t have one already, there’s never been a better time to book an installation.

The UK’s smart meter rollout is already well underway, with 28.8 million meters installed in small businesses and homes. There are many benefits you can experience from having a smart meter installed in your business:

Call us on 0161 946 4444 to book your free smart meter installation, or click here to fill in an online request form

Still unsure? Find out more information on how smart meters work and the benefits it can bring to your energy usage here.

Your energy supply is safe with Unicom

Your energy supply is safe with Unicom

There has been widespread media coverage recently about rising energy prices and energy suppliers ceasing to trade.


Why are energy prices rising?

Wholesale prices for natural gas and electricity have risen due to higher global demand, reduced generation due to planned maintenance and lower renewable electricity generation due to low winds.

We understand this can be unsettling, particularly for business owners whose livelihood depends on the use of energy. Gas and electricity are critical components in so many of our customers’ businesses, and they rely on the energy industry to keep that supply flowing.


Your supply is safe with us

We want to reassure all Unicom customers that there is no reason to be concerned about the security of your energy supply.

Unicom is part of the Verastar Group, which provides a wide range of services including telecoms, broadband, water, insurance and payment services, as well as energy, to over 160,000 small businesses.

The fact that we offer a wide range of services, coupled with the way we purchase energy on the wholesale market, means we are at lower risk than many other energy providers from current fluctuations within the market.


If you’re in a fixed term contract

If you’re in a fixed-rate energy contract your rates won’t increase during your fixed term, save in the limited circumstances set out in your contract.

If your contract’s due to end soon, you’ll lock in the best rates by remaining in a fixed contract. We’ll contact you before your contract ends to offer you a renewal.


If you’re not in a fixed-term contract

If you’re not currently in a fixed-term contract for your gas or electricity prices, the wholesale prices increases will unfortunately affect you and you could end up paying more than you need to.

You can secure the most competitive rates by entering into a fixed-term contract with Unicom, while protecting yourself against any further wholesale price increases.

Find out the latest information about our out of contract rates.


How to save money on your energy bills

Energy prices look set to remain high for at least the remainder of this year and into spring 2022.

The best way to save money on your energy bills is to be as energy efficient as possible and look at ways to reduce your energy consumption.

Have a read of our helpful tips on how you can save energy.


Six ways to cut your business energy bill

Six ways to cut your business energy bill


With energy prices rising, there’s never been a better time to look at your business and see where you can save energy and save money.

A few simple tweaks to your premises and your behaviour can save you £££s on your energy bills.

Here are six of the best from Unicom:


Turn off your equipment and lights

Taking a few moments to ensure you switch off your lights, computers and other equipment when you leave your premises at night can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Statistics show that if you leave your office lights on overnight, each year you use enough energy to heat a home for 5 months!

Another way to ensure you keep energy usage to a minimum is to set up ‘sleep mode’ in your computer’s preferences. By setting a ten-minute screen delay you can save some serious energy. Sleep mode only uses a few watts, unlike screensavers, which use almost the same amount of energy as your computer monitor in full use.

Make sure you don’t leave other equipment and devices around your business on standby, as lots of small energy costs quickly add up to a higher bill.


Install LED bulbs

Energy efficient lighting helps to lower electricity bills and carbon emissions. While the initial outlay will set you back, you’ll quickly recoup that investment in energy saved. Plus, LED bulbs last longer than traditional bulbs, so you’ll also save on maintenance costs.

You can save £2-3 per year for every traditional halogen bulb you switch to a similarly bright LED bulb or up to £7 per 100 watt incandescent bulb.


Get a smart meter

Having a smart meter means your bills will always reflect your actual usage.

This can help you to understand your energy usage and reduce waste, which is great both for your pocket and for the environment. On a national and global level these savings could amount to a significant reduction in overall carbon emissions, which can only be a good thing!

If you’re a Unicom customer and you opt in we’ll arrange to install the latest smart meter at your premises, free of charge.

Opt in for a free a smart meter 


Only boil the water you need

It’s an old one but it’s a big one – taking care over how much water you and your employees are heating up when you take a tea break can save you some serious energy.

If you boil more water than you need, then all that boiling water that isn’t used represents nothing but wasted energy and wasted money.

Research suggests that the average UK kettle boiler fills up their appliance with twice as much water as they need.


Take control of your heating

A significant percentage of the money we spend on energy in the UK goes on heating and hot water.

Simply turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save around £55 a year and reduce your carbon footprint by 300kg – that’s equivalent to driving 754 miles in an average petrol car. If your premises is larger than average you could save even more.


Draught-proof your premises

Unless you’re in brand-new premises, it’s likely that you’re losing heat through draughts around your doors, windows, gaps in the floor or even through your chimney! These draughts make heating your home more expensive as more energy is required to heat your premises.

You can spend money on professional draught proofing if you’ve got a serious issue with draughts at your premises, but there are a number of DIY solutions you can try yourself if you have a troublesome door or window that’s letting in cold air. Try a draught excluder on doors, fit flaps or brushes on letterboxes and use foam, metal or plastic draught strips on windows.

How to use Unicom Customer Zone

How to use Unicom Customer Zone

At Unicom we’re constantly looking for new ways to make life easier for our customers.

During the pandemic we’ve seen a clear increase in customers wanting to self-serve and manage services online, without having to speak to someone on the phone.

That’s why we’ve bent over backwards to improve our Customer Zone portal, so you can now do more online, more easily, at a time that suits you.



What can you do in Customer Zone?


We’ve created a series of videos to explain the five key things you can do in Customer Zone and show you how to make the most of the portal. We’ve also detailed what you can do in Customer Zone below in writing.




Set up or make changes to your Direct Debit

Paying by Direct Debit is the easiest way to pay your bills. You can change your bank details or set up a new Direct Debit mandate any time in Customer Zone.

If you need to reset your Direct Debit, simply log on to, hover over ‘My Account’ and select Direct Debit from the dropdown menu.

If you’re not already paying doing it, you can save £10 a month off your bill by signing up to pay by Direct Debit.

View your latest bills

You can view your latest bill, get detailed breakdowns over the last 12 months and download printable versions all online.

Submit meter reads

If you take one of our utility products, we recommend you send us a meter read monthly to ensure your bills are as accurate as possible. Submitting your meter read using Customer Zone is easy to do and only takes a minute.

While we’re on the subject of meter reads, we’re in the process of contacting all Unicom Energy customers to offer them a smart meter. Click here to let us know if you’d like a smart meter.

Make online payments

You can use Customer Zone to make online payments. Click on ‘Make a Payment’ and your invoice balance will automatically be entered. Then simply enter your payment details. You can only use this method if you’re paying your full invoice amount. If you want to pay a lesser amount, you’ll still need to call one of our team on 0161 946 4444 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

How do you sign up to Customer Zone?

Signing up to use Customer Zone is quick and easy to do. You’ll just need your email address and Unicom account ID. Once your account is activated, you’re ready to go.



What are smart meters and what do they do?

What are smart meters and what do they do?

You’ve probably heard about smart meters, but you’d be forgiven for not being 100% clear on what they are and why we need them.  

As Unicom rolls out smart meter technology to more and more customers up and down the UK, we’re here to explain what they are, how they work and, importantly, what they mean for you.  


What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are electronic devices installed in your premises that send information about your energy use to your supplier via a wireless network.  

More than 22 million smart meters have already been fitted in homes and businesses in Great Britain.  


What are the benefits of installing a smart meter?

Having a smart meter means you’ll get more accurate bills based on a live picture of the energy you’ve used.  

This accurate month-on-month view helps you to understand your energy usage and reduce waste, which is great both for your pocket and for the environment. On a national and global level these savings could amount to a significant reduction in overall carbon emissions, which can only be a good thing! 

If you’re a Unicom customer and you opt in we’ll arrange to install a second-generation smart meter at your premises, free of charge.  


Will a smart meter save me any money?

Having a smart meter won’t change your energy prices, but your bills will be based on the energy you’ve actually used and you’ll be able to accurately monitor your usage to reduce waste 


Why is Unicom rolling out smart meters?

Smart meters are an upgrade to the country’s energy system, allowing us to move towards a so-called ‘smart grid’. Improved data on energy use in homes and businesses makes it easier for planners to predict energy peaks and create a more effective, efficient and reliable network.  

All energy providers will be contacting their customers to offer smart meter installations, helping the country move towards this more efficient network.   


How do I get a smart meter?

If you’re a Unicom Business Energy customer and you’d like to switch your meter, simply fill in the form by clicking the link below and we will arrange for installation.


I’d like a smart meter