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How will feed-in tariffs be affected by the smart meter revolution?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 September 2014 at 7:05 am

Q. Can users who have smart meters use their export values from the meter for FIT payments, rather than the standard deemed 50 per cent?

A. Your question refers to the way in which the export payments element of the feed-in tariff is calculated.

You are right that for most domestic solar installations your export is assumed, or ‘deemed’, at 50 per cent; that is it is assumed that you will export around half of the electricity you generate so metering is not required.

However, with the government-driven roll out of smart meters in all homes commencing in earnest in late 2015, and already started in some areas, you are right to question what implication this has for those in receipt of the feed-in tariff.

Smart meters will read your electricity consumption and generation in real time, and communicate this data to your supplier automatically thus rendering the need to ‘deem’ your export data defunct.

Some of the larger energy companies have already started this roll out and to date smart meters have been installed in 295,700 homes.

If you already have a smart meter, you are required to use that to inform your export payments. Part of the FIT agreement states that if you do have a meter fitted whether it is a smart meter or not, then your FIT supplier must use those readings to inform their payments to you.

Ahead of the smart meter roll out though, it’s likely that you are still better off with a deemed rate, even if you export more than 50 per cent of your electricity.

If your usage is only marginally less than 50 per cent or you aren’t sure whether it is, you may find it more economically beneficial to stick with the deemed amount.

Secondly, if your use is likely to change, for example if you’re nearing retirement and are likely to start being at home and using more energy during the day, then the deemed rate might suit better for now.

Thirdly, even though you may be exporting more than 50 per cent, the cost and hassle of installing and maintaining a meter may be such that the minor benefit of increased FIT payments fail to offset the installation costs anyway.

If and when the smart meter rollout happens across the UK, it is unclear whether those in receipt of FITs will have the same right as other householders to opt out of the scheme. As more decisions are made and more details emerge, we will keep you posted!

Photo credit: daniel via Compfight CC

More information about Feed-in Tariffs on YouGen.

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7 comments - read them below or add one


geoff_sComment left on: 5 November 2015 at 5:13 pm

The article above started with "smart meters will roll-out in earnest in all homes commencing late 2015".

Well here we in 'late 2015' & I've an appointment to have a new meter fitted by Seimens in three weeks.

But Seimans say they can't fit any economy 7 meters that can export and can't tell me of any plans to do this.

Seems I can't put off the instalation for a few months, as mine is 15y old.

Can anyone tell me which energy companies (if any) are currently fitting Economy 7 smart meters? If so perhaps I can change supplier.


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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 9 December 2014 at 9:41 am

@DebbieO'Neill There are three elements to how you benefit from the feed-in tariff. First, and most significant is the generation tariff which is a fixed rate payment (currently 14.38p) for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated. You will also save money on your electricity bills as each kWh of electricity you use is one less you have to buy in. The third (and least significant) element is the export tariff. This is paid for electricity exported to the grid. Currently it is deemed to be 50% for small scale installations to avoid the cost of installing meters. However, once smart meters are rolled out it will be metered, and paid accordingly. This won't have much of an impact on your scenario. It is also fair, as why should you be paid for electricity you are using yourself?

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DebbieO'NeillComment left on: 8 December 2014 at 5:16 pm

I'm now completely confused as to what will happen with a smart meter.  Could this could make a smaller PV system financially inefficient?

We are trying to plan a GSHP run by Solar Pv to provide UF heating, and wood burner with back boiler topped up by immersion heater (to use up any spare PV capacity)  The biggest system we can fit on the roof is 2.6kW and we expect to use most of that for the GSHP. 

It's complcated by the fact that the house currently has Economy 7 tariff and the meters will need to be changed.  If we have to have a smart meter, will we be losing out on the FiT? 


 Cathy, thanks for your reply. I have become confused as I have read elsewhere that the generation tariff was affected by smart meters. I do  agree that I should not be paid for elecricity not exported, and think it's probably more efficient to use it up for DHW top up. Thanks again


ps I tried to post this thanks separately but was unable to, don't know why!

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 11 October 2014 at 11:10 am

@rogerhoward You don't need a smart meter to maximise your on-site consumption. There are plenty of energy meters available that do the job at a much lower cost. My instinct would be to wait until all the smart meter standards are agreed and full roll out starts before getting one, as otherwise it may have to be changed at a later date. What Tasha was referring to is that you can get an export meter put in if you don't want to be deemed, but it is expensive, so it's not worth it unless you know you export much more than 50%.

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rogerhowardComment left on: 9 October 2014 at 1:05 pm

Disappointing, poor advice to stick with the 'deemed 50%'. Instead, why not laud the benefit/necessity of the always-criticised Smart Meters for us to simply see for ourselves how much of our generation is split between export and consumption on-site?  Even a Solar PV installation facing south will typically be exporting 60% of generation, and even higher for all that aren't south-facing. (Nor have I heard of a utility that requires a Smart Meter's export recording to be used instead of the 'deemed 50%'.) Micro-generators all need a Smart Meter, and organisations should be demanding that we all have the chance of one regardless of our utility suppliers' plans/schedules. We do need such monitoring to judge how to maximise our on-site consumption - see "Better to consume, rather than export?" CLNR article here;

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 7 October 2014 at 3:57 pm

Hi LRolfs

First off, you don't have to repay the RHPP. How it works is that it is deducted from your payments. If you haven't already had one, you'll need a green deal assessment which will cost about £100. Then you will get payments for both the boiler and the solar thermal for seven years. I'd say it's worth the hassle of filling out an application form for that. Click here to see more details about the rates you will get.

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LRolfsComment left on: 7 October 2014 at 2:01 pm

I am not sure whether to bother with the RHI for biomass.  We received the RHPP for the wood pellet boiler and the solar thermal tubes and in addition the biomass boiler is switched off for at least 5 months during the spring/summer.  As we would also have to pay back the RHPP and the grant is only available for 7 years anyway I think it is not going to be worth our while.  What do others think?

Any views please?  I can't get answers directly from the scheme operators.

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