Some energy suppliers offer specialist tariffs which vary the cost of electricity throughout the day. Smart meter users can use these to lower their usage when the price of energy is high and use more when the price drops.
However, for most users, tariffs operate in the same way as a traditional meter. Champions of smart meters claim that the ability for a household to see how much energy it uses will change habits.
The £2.2bn problem
Many do not realise how much it costs to leave appliances on standby, according to energy firm Utilita. On average, British homes have 10 unused items plugged in and switched on at any one time. Three in 10 have electrical gadgets on standby despite not using them in more than a year.
Leaving the 10 most power-using products on standby all year round costs Britons £2.2bn more than if they were turned off at the plug. A TV on standby costs Britons more than £430m in wasted electricity per year, the firm said.
A TV costs one household £16 of electricity, while a printer or scanner can add £6.50. The amount per appliance is relatively small, however, this quickly adds up when multiple appliances are left on.