Once a day, normally around midnight, your meter will send ESB Networks the total amount of electricity consumed and exported over the previous 24-hour period. Approximately every two hours, each smart meter will activate itself to check its integrity and connection to the network and will send details of any electricity exported onto the network and, if necessary, any problems. If you have chosen to provide your 30-minute electricity consumption data to your Supplier this will also be sent from the meter every two hours.
Each message will take only a fraction of a second to send – as noted above, in terms of the content, they are basically very similar to a text message. Between these messages, the meter still maintains communication with the nearest base station.
In the future, smart meters will allow the electricity supply companies to offer you new products and services. For example, you could choose to switch to a tariff that varied through the day (more expensive in peak hours than off-peak or at night). More options will emerge as we all explore what smart technology can offer. These options might involve more frequent sending of data between meter and ESB Networks, though each separate communication would still be a very short package of data, similar to a text message. And in all those examples, it would be your choice whether to take up the option offered.