Frequently Asked Questions
Would you like to learn more about smart meters? We've answered some common questions in this section.
Smart Meter Upgrade
What are smart meters?
Smart meters are the next generation of electricity meters. Using digital technology and the 2G mobile phone network, the smart meter will give you access to accurate information on your energy usage throughout the day and significantly reduce the need for estimated bills.
Why are all meters being replaced?
As part of the Climate Action Plan, ESB Networks is replacing 2.4 million electricity meters in homes, farms and businesses across Ireland with next generation meters.This new technology which is already in use in over 500 million premises worldwide will bring benefits to customers, the environment and the economy.
Benefits to customers: From 2021 onwards smart meters will provide greater access to accurate information on your energy usage giving you greater control on your energy consumption. They will also enhance competition and increase the range of products and services available. Currently, your electricity meter is manually read by ESB Networks up to four times per year. From 2021 smart meters will be able to automatically send your meter readings to ESB Networks so the need for estimated bills will be significantly reduced.
Benefits to the environment and the economy: Smart meters will enable the move to a low-carbon electricity network, the development of smart grids, and support the electrification of heat and transport, local renewable generation and microgeneration.
In addition smart meters can facilitate a reduction in electricity usage and generation, especially at peak times, helping us to become more energy efficient and lower our carbon emissions.
How much is this programme costing?
The replacement of 2.4 million electricity meters with the new smart meters over a six-year period will cost approximately €1.2bn.The Commission for Regulation of Utilities has done extensive analysis of the National Smart Metering plan and is satisfied that the investment involved represents value for money.
Like other meter upgrades the cost is included in existing charges for use of the electricity network infrastructure so there’s no additional charge to the customer when having a smart meter installed.
When will the replacement programme be completed?
The programme will run on a phased regional basis until 2024. The programme started in autumn 2019 and our plan is to replace 250,000 meters by the end of 2020. The plan is for a further 500,000 meters to be upgraded every year from 2021 to 2024.
Who will carry out the replacement work?
The replacement work will be carried out by either an ESB Networks network technician or an electrical contractor working on our behalf. All of our installers carry photo ID badges identifying them.
Smart meters and you
What benefits will I get from a smart meter?
Currently your electricity meter is manually read by ESB Networks up to four times per year. Smart meters will be able to automatically send your meter readings to ESB Networks so the need for estimated bills will be significant reduced.
When smart meters are fully operational, you will have a choice to be provided with more accurate information about your energy usage to allow you to better manage your bills with greater accuracy than at present. This information will also enable you to be more energy efficient, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.
From 2021 onwards, electricity supply companies will begin to offer new smart products and services, giving you more choice and enabling you to shift some of your consumption to off peak times of the day when electricity is cheaper.
When will I get a smart meter?
The programme started in autumn 2019 and will continue until the end of 2024. We have begun work in parts of Dublin, Cork, Laois, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. The roll out will continue on a phased area by area basis and a detailed rollout plan is currently being developed.
We will give you plenty of notice about when we are coming to your area.
Can I request an early meter upgrade?
While the initial focus will be on areas with the oldest meters, customers can apply to ESB Networks or their electricity supplier for a prioritised installation of a smart meter. When contacting us you’ll need your 11 digit MPRN number to hand. This can be found on your electricity supply bill and always starts with ’10’.
What is involved in the meter replacement process?
Below are the steps involved in replacing your meter:
• You will receive a letter a few weeks in advance of your meter replacement.
• If your electricity meter is outdoors and easily accessible you don’t need to be home for us to carry out the meter replacement.
• If your meter is located inside we will arrange an appointment with you.
• An ESB Networks network technician or an electrical contractor working on our behalf will come to your property to remove your existing meter and replace it with the new smart meter. All our installers carry photo ID badges identifying them.
• To do the work safely we will need to turn off your electricity supply for approximately 45 minutes.
• We will also undertake a safety assessment of the ESB Networks meter installation and, where necessary, may carry out additional remedial works, at no cost to you.
Do I have to pay for the new meter?
There is no additional charge for upgrading your meter. Like other meter upgrades, the cost is included in your existing charges for use of the electricity network.
How do I read my smart meter?
The digital display screen on your new smart meter shows your current meter reading in kilowatt-hours (kWh). To read the new meter, note the figures on the screen before “kWh” from left to right and include all digits.
Initially the meter will continue to be read manually by ESB Networks. From 2021 onwards it will be read automatically, significantly reducing the need for estimated bills.
When contacting your electricity supply company with your meter reading, you will need to have your 11 digit MPRN number to hand. This can be found on your electricity supply bill and always starts with ’10’.
My meter has been exchanged - What data is recorded on my meter and how is it used?
At this stage your new meter is recording your electricity consumption but the meter is not set up to communicate remotely, so no data is being sent from the meter. Your meter will continue to be read by our meter readers until we begin remote reading in 2021.
During 2020, we will start to build our new communication network and so your meter will start to connect to our secure 2G network provided by Three Ireland Limited. A minimal amount of data will flow from your meter to prove the communication network ahead of our planned go-live in 2021.
Will my data be safe?
All data collected from the meter is encrypted and will be securely stored in a central Meter Data Management System (MDMS) operated by ESB Networks. ESB Networks is committed to ensuring that we are compliant with our data protection obligations and that all personal customer data is safe and secure.
Are the new meters a risk to my health?
ESB Networks have a
total commitment to your health and safety. The upgraded smart meters will be
safe and will comply with all necessary requirements and international
around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have assessed
the scientific evidence and there are no established health effects from smart
meters which use similar technology to that used in your mobile phone.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
When will you begin indoor exchanges again?
We’re following Government and HSE guidelines and will resume exchanging indoor meters when it is deemed safe to do so.
We will contact customers with indoor meters in advance of their replacement with further information.
There are specific times I need my electricity to be kept on, can you facilitate this?
We are conscious that customers may be self-isolating, working from home and doing examinations and may need to keep their electricity on at certain times during the day. We will work with you to arrange the most suitable time to exchange the meter.
The best way to ensure that we can exchange your meter at a convenient time is to arrange an appointment. You will receive a letter informing you that your replacement will take place shortly and you can call the number on your letter to make one.